Spoofing, Cyber fraud, Stalking and Website defacement are some of the most common cybercrimes that have been recorded by various government agencies in the past couple of years thus the need to be more vigilant to cyber crimes as a growing economy.
The adoption of a Cyber Security Policy and Strategy as a collective to increase the security of citizens as well as the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (Every October) are steps in the right direction.
Notwithstanding the above initiatives, we are far away from secure as a nation especially when Ghana Police Service has reported that as a country, we have lost $200M to cybercrime cases between 2016 and 2018.
One would not be wrong to take precautionary measures as we approach this 2020 election because of the past instant of Website Hack of the Electoral Commission of Ghana in 2016.
Also, there is a need for concern as politicians are easy targets for hackers. Various cases of successful hacks targeting politicians have been reported even in developed countries talk less about our beloved nation Ghana. The wise thing to do as politicians would be to prevent such attackers in the first place.
More and more politicians are adopting the use of technology and the internet to reach the masses and this coming 2020 election, the fear is that these politicians are prime targets of cybercrimes either through their email accounts or social media handles.
Hackers are using different methods to reach their goal, and these include, phishing, spear-phishing, social engineering, malware attacks, remotely controlled Trojans and many others.
Politicians need to be security-aware and realize that they might one day be targeted by hackers, especially when an election is about to take place. Protecting themselves from any type of intrusion, cyber or other, is more vital than ever.
Why Hackers are targeting politicians
Hacktivism is the use of technology to promote a political agenda or a social change. Many hackers will target some politicians because of hacktivism. Because of what happened in the 2016 Ghana General elections most hackers will be contracted to be spying and monitoring their activities in cyberspace.
A major example is a hacktivist group called Anonymous which has been popular around the world for challenging and taking down many governments. These hackers can target religious groups, governments, movements, to promote a particular agenda.
One of the most common reasons for hackers to hack politicians is to steal or leak information. This could be data and information about your political party, your own private life affairs that have got nothing to do with your political life. These are cases where hackers typically go after big targets in order to get the most attention.
Most times, hackers also steal data in order to assume your personal identity and then use it for something else like transferring money, taking a loan, etc. Such incidents have increased after Internet banking and mobile banking have started to become more popular. With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices, the potential for monetary gain through hacking has also increased.
Make a Point
Hackers somethings want to make a point to the general public. After the 2016 general election issues about hacking emerged, hackers for the past years have not focused on hacking election because it was not digital but now it has come into their field. 2020 election hackers will want their presence to be felt so they might start to target our politicians to make a point.
What Can You Do to Be Safe?
Politicians often tend to give it away rather easily because they think they will not be hacked. Some of them also have a reactive nature where they would only do something once a situation arises. The fact is that hacks happen all the time. They have been happening for years and they have only increased with time. It happens to many politicians but they do not come out to tell the public about what they go through.
Some simple security measures politicians can take as we approach the 2020 elections and even beyond would include the following and more:
- Proactively test the security of all your interaction entities – websites, mobile apps, networks, emails, social media accounts, etc.
- Stop clicking unknow links to avoid phishing attacks.
- Do not entrust social media with your private information, know the things your post on social media and website.
- Updating devices at all times to avoid know vulnerability attacks.
In conclusion, my security message to everyone (Politician or not) is to know that, the internet never forgets, so we should be very mindful of what you post.
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