Ghana: Cyber Security Authority Engages Tech Providers to Counter Misinformation Powered By Ai

The Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has cautioned the public to be wary of electoral misinformation and disinformation targeted at flawing this year's general election.

Director-General of the CSA, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said the authority was anticipating the deployment of disinformation and misinformation campaigns powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) especially on social media to influence the decision of voters.

In this regard, he noted that, the CSA was engaging social media platforms including Facebook and X, formerly Twitter to rollout mechanisms to detect and prevent them from going viral.

Dr Antwi-Boasiako was speaking in Accra, Wednesday, on the sidelines of a three-day West African Symposium on Sector Collaboration and Information Sharing among Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

Organised by the CSA in collaboration with the United States Department of State's Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) and Software Engineering Institute (SEI), at Carnegie Mellon University, the symposium was to share ideas and build capacity towards a safe and resilient cyber ecosystem in the sub-region, Africa and the world at large.

It brought together stakeholders and partners from 11 countries including Ghana, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Nigeria, The Gambia, Liberia, Senegal, Togo and Sierra Leone.

"We anticipate a lot more of disinformation and misinformation. Criminals innovate in their process, and so we will likely see AI-powered disinformation and misinformation campaigns that that makes it a little bit difficult for us, but we're working with a tech providers on the platform.

They also have mechanism to detect them, so we are engaging Facebook, Twitter, which is x and others, to ensure that as we get close to elections, we will be able to detect and prevent some of this issues," Dr Antwi-Boasiako stated.

He, however, recommended to Ghanaians to take keen interest in awareness campaigns that was aimed at building their capacity to ensure they do not fall victims to such electoral misinformation and disinformation.

"But I think the major recommendation is that the public should be aware that not everything that is transmitted across the network is actually legitimate, original or generic. So we don't need to consider it.

The media also have a role to play from now to the election. How you are shaping your message on your platform is a collective responsibility. I think the authority really see this as a top priority as far as awareness creation is concerned," he stated.

Currently, Dr Antwi-Boasiako noted that, low rate of cybersecurity awareness had enabled cyber fraud to fester, adding that creating awareness on cybersecurity was the most effective mechanism to prevent fraud and other online criminal activities.

He stated that, last year, more than GH¢60 million was lost through cyber fraud and schemes.

He said that the advent of such cyber threats makes it imperative for state and non-state actors to build the relevant skills, knowledge, and infrastructure needed to safeguard the digital infrastructure.

In this regard, the CSA, he stated, had developed regulatory interventions and was working with institutions in both the financial and telecommunications sector deploy the necessary technologies and build capacities to detect and prevent fraud.

Dr Antwi-Boasiako said Ghana considered international collaboration as key for enhanced cybersecurity incident response and security teams as well as joint capacity-building programmes, information sharing, and technical tools to effectively detect and prevent cybersecurity incidents.

Dr Angel Hueca, Senior Cybersecurity Operations Researcher, Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, said cyber-attacks were a threat to economies and critical infrastructure, hence the need to build capacities of cybersecurity professional as frontline defenders in mitigating risks and safeguarding.

He reiterated the need to foster greater regional cooperation to enable total information sharing on cybercrime, saying that cyber adversaries operate without regard for geographical boundaries, making collaboration across borders critical.

"By sharing mechanisms, we can strengthen our defenses through our expertise, intelligence and resources. We can stay one step ahead of emerging threats and better protect our cyberspace for all to benefit," he stated.

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