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The Africa Centre for Digital Transformation (ACDT) has issued a warning about potential cyber threats targeting Ghana’s upcoming December 7 elections.

They have therefore urged immediate action to safeguard the electoral process.

In a press statement, the ACDT highlighted the increasing risk of cyber-attacks as digital systems become more integral to Ghanaian society, including its electoral processes.

The organization stressed the national importance of addressing these threats to ensure the integrity and security of the upcoming elections.

The ACDT’s concerns are based on a series of cyber incidents that have affected elections in West Africa in recent years. During the 2015 and 2019 elections in Nigeria, cyber-attacks targeted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), attempting to hack databases and spread disinformation.

Although some systems were compromised, INEC maintained that these attacks did not impact overall election results.

In 2018, cyber-attacks aimed at Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) sought to disrupt the electoral process and manipulate public perception. The government responded by enhancing cybersecurity measures to protect the election.

The ACDT statement also alleged that Ghana’s 2016 elections saw the Electoral Commission’s website attacked, causing temporary shutdowns. In the 2020 elections, numerous cyber threats prompted increased cybersecurity efforts by the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Cybersecurity Authority.

To mitigate these risks, the ACDT recommends strengthening cybersecurity infrastructure, including regular security audits and penetration testing.

The organization further suggests capacity building and training for electoral officials and IT personnel on cybersecurity best practices, as well as public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on recognizing and avoiding misinformation and promoting digital literacy.

Additionally, the ACDT urges the state to develop and regularly update incident response plans to promptly address and mitigate any cyber incidents.

Kwesi Atuahene, the Executive Director of ACDT, emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in ensuring a secure, transparent, and credible electoral process.

“As we approach the 2024 elections, we must be prepared to counter cyber threats and protect the integrity of our electoral systems,” he said.

The ACDT is committed to supporting the Ghanaian government, the Electoral Commission, and all stakeholders in this effort, urging them to prioritize cybersecurity and work collaboratively to protect Ghana’s democracy from cyber threats.

Read the full statement here.

By Daakyehene Nana Yaw Asante