The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the Ministry of Communications receives about 10 cases of what it terms “online sextortion” weekly.

The cases, which mainly involved children and young persons, it said, ranked second after fraud as cyber security abuse cases recorded on daily basis.

Mr Isaac Socrates Mensah, a Cyber Triage Officer at the NCSC disclosed this, on Tuesday, in Accra at the commemoration this year’s Africa Safer Internet Day under the theme; “Together for a Better Internet.”

Sextortion is a practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity.

“Sextortion is a big issue at the Centre, they are reported every day. In fact, some of the victims have not seen their predators in person but are online friends.

Indeed, a lot of people on the internet are wolves in sheep skin. 

He, therefore, cautioned children to be careful and urged victims to report their predators to the Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Points of Contact, which received complaints of any form of cyber abuse, as part of efforts in sanitising the nation’s cyberspace.

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, recommended to the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to consider incorporating cyber-hygienic practices in curriculums for awareness creation and crime prevention.

This would equip the students with the ethics on how to conduct themselves when online and protect them from becoming victims of criminal activities.

The Minister reiterated that the Government would soon initiate the process for the re-registration of all SIM cards on a full scale, as part of efforts to clamp down on fraudulent activities and sanitise the cyberspace.

While cautioning children and the youth against divulging personal details when online, she advised parents to take keen interest in their ward’s activities online in order to complement the efforts of government in ensuring their safety.

The event organised by the Ministry of Communications and the NCSC, with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

It sought to create awareness and to spark a national discourse on online safety for children and young people, as part of Ghana’s National Cyber Security Awareness Programme.

Mr Fiachra McAsey, the Deputy Country Representative, UNICEF, said the country must be aware and prepared to address the dangers and effects that the increase in mobile subscription and internet use posed, especially to children.

He, however, commended the Government for its widespread investment in bridging the technological divide and commitment towards ensuring a safer and conducive environment for children online.

Mr McAsey said UNICEF would continue to support public agencies, such as the Police Service and educational institutions, to undertake sensitisation programmes to ensure a safe online interaction for children.