The Ghanaian government through the Ministry of Communications has announced that it has plans of employing a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) system to help secure the country’s digital space (i.e. the protection of transactions and interaction in Ghana’s digital environment).
This becomes necessary as businesses in the country are becoming digitised and more dependent on electronic financial transactions. This dependency and usage of digital information in turn poses data privacy compliance and data security issues.
Also, the increment in cyber-attacks against business organisations, unscrupulous insiders, and businesses’ access to sensitive data makes the introduction of the PKI system apt.
The Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful who made the announcement said the PKI system “is an additional layer of authentication which secures our digital transactions. So, it is as if there is a key broken into two, the public key is given out but before anyone can read your document or open the document they need the private key……..So, if you are not the one who actually issue that document it would be impossible for anyone to open it and to read it.”
This isn’t the first security move to protect sensitive data in Ghana. Over the years, there’s been a couple of authentication forms to protect data. The primary one being a single-password sign-on, which is a very basic method of encryption.
These forms of authentications became inadequate as technology keeps advancing and they could be defeated in simple ways.
The Communications Minister said the introduction of PKI system into Ghana’s digital space will help with the “issuance of a digital certificate. It helps with electronic signatures of documents…authenticating electronic signatures of documents. Now it is easy to fake all kinds of things using the same technology, so how do we ensure that the documents that you are for example filing in court are the real documents? You need this public key infrastructure to able to authenticate that. It makes it difficult if not impossible to falsify electronic signatures, digital signatures, and electronic certificate.”
The PKI system would be spearheaded by the Communications Ministry. It will be implemented through the E-transform Project and NITA.