Ministry of Communications launches Security Operations Centre

The Ministry of Communications, through the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), has launched the Security Operations Centre (SOC), aimed at improving security of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The establishment of the new security infrastructure comes as an additional effort by the Government to minimize Cybercrime in the country and forms part of activities to mark the 2020 edition of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).

The Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu who launched the Centre at a short ceremony held at the forecourt of the Ministry on Friday, October 23, 2020 said the facility is expected to improve operational engagement and efficiency of the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in order to achieve effective response to cybersecurity incidents affecting MDAs.

"The NITA-SOC, will work with the National CERT and the IT teams of the MDAs to ensure that all activities undertaken by MDAs within the digital ecosystem is secured and safeguarded to ensure effective delivery of services by MDAs," she added.

She revealed, that the NITA-SOC will also serve as a threat monitoring infrastructure to identify threats that seek to plague the systems used by MDAs while preventing, detecting, analysing, and responding to cybersecurity incidents.

According to the Minister, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has occasioned a certain shift, from physical interactions and engagements to an increased reliance on digital platforms, which at the same time makes organisations susceptible to cyberattacks.

“According to analysis by the National CERT, malware-based attacks form a great proportion of all cybersecurity incidents reported by MDA’s. Government websites have been subject to cyber-attacks including website defacements, Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), among others. Data leakage, through hacking of computers and databases, has also been reported” she noted.

"And most surprising is how some public sector officials have also taken advantage of their privileged access to government data to leak sensitive information to achieve their malicious personal gains. As we continue to digitalize, we need to take our cyber security seriously”, she added.

On his part, the National Cyber Security Advisor Dr Albert Antwi Bosiako said Government's interventions in the cyber ecosystem have impacted on a number of lives across the entire country, as it now has an improved cybersecurity incident response mechanism across different sectors following the establishment of the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC)

"The establishment of a Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) marks another milestone of Government’s strategic intervention to scale up our cybersecurity readiness, he said.

The SOC is a command centre of highly skilled and talented ethical hackers and security analysts operating with defined processes and supported by integrated security intelligence technologies.

It will offer services, including network monitoring which will ensure that government networks are monitored consistently in real time and will contribute to the identification of patterns and prioritisation of problems for optimised resource and threat management, authorities say.

The Director-General of NITA, Mr. Richard Okyere, the establishment of the SOC facility marks a very significant step towards achieving the digitization agenda.

In his welcome address, he touted Government's commitment to ensuring a safer digital future for organisations and individuals in the country.

The quest to ensure the provision of quality information communication technology and promoting standards of efficiency and high-quality service cannot be achieved without making sure that there is some high level of assurance of operating in a safe and secured cyber space, he added.