Phishing, Denial of Service, Man-in-the-Middle attack are random words to some Ghanaians until they witnessed its real life demonstrations at the maiden Tech Fest 2019 held in Accra.
In the era of ‘Internet of Things’, there is a genuine concern for protection of privacy and user data; meanwhile corporations and governments are devising cleaver ways to collect and monetize these user data and information.
Cyber security experts, ethical hackers and penetration testers converged for the first ever Tech Fest to engage in the dialogue about privacy on social media and the internet as a whole.
Speaking at the event, Efia Darko Asante in charge of capacity building and awareness creation at National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) noted that Ghana is the ninth largest active user of social media according to a recent survey. She believed that it was necessary to call for a frank discussion on cyber security and protection of privacy.
Victor Gordon Nyamadi cyber security analyst working for Vodafone Ghana revealed that, the focus of cyber-criminals are now on the telecommunication companies. According to him Telcos are in control of user information that is relevant for these attackers.
Mr. Nyamadi, however, noted with concern that mobile devices used by most Ghanaians have several vulnerabilities. He lamented that, where user equipment supports strong encryption, voice and SMS traffics are often uploaded to vulnerable GSM networks.
“You may be running on 3G, but immediately you begin to do your SMS or when you take a voice call, you come back to the vulnerable 2G [network]” he said.
“The operator is interested in securing you as an individual, but the challenge is, if that encryption or protection mechanism is put in place, you are denying service. In other words, you will not be able to link up. Your phone will not be able to attach to the servers to enable you do what you want to do,” he said.
He concluded that it would take a collaboration of all stakeholders to come to a compromise in order to resolve some of these concerns.
The secondary aim of the summit was to equipped participants with practical skill in order to protect themselves and their information while surfing the web and the social media space.
Pratap Jantua, ethical hacker and Network consulting engineer and instructor at NIIT noted that corporations and individual are constantly collecting information about the unsuspecting users and profiling them.
He used the occasion to demonstrate some of the ways user information could be obtain and how participants could protect themselves.
In some instance, he showed attendants some tools to check, for instance, the identity of those who send us Facebook requests.
The event also saw in attendance some technology enterprises and startup companies who were present to show off their products.