The National Cyber Security Centre under the Ministry of Communications on Wednesday organised a training on cyber-crime prevention and protection for more than 500 Senior High School (SHS) students in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital.

The training is part of the national cyber security awareness campaign launched early this month by government to ensure adequate protection of Ghanaian children and institutions from cybercrime attacks.

The nationwide workshop would also cover law enforcement agencies including the Bureau of National Investigations, National Security and Police Service among others.

The students chosen from Wa Technical Institute, Wa SHS and Wa Senior High Technical were taken through various cybercrime topics such as child online protection, risks children face using the internet and how to stay saver using the internet.

Dr Gustav Herbert Yankson, the Head of Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service, said the training had become necessary following increasing trends in cybercrime mostly involving children.

He said about $90,000.00 (about GH¢450,000.00) was lost through mobile money, while Ghana lost $97million as a result of cybercrime activities as at August this year.

Dr Yankson said the future of many cybercrime victims had been jeopardised as several marriages have been reported collapsed and people being blackmailed.

“Our future is at stake, our marriages are at stake, let’s be weary of the crime and protect ourselves”, he said.

The government has declared October 2018 as cyber security awareness month to educate agencies and students on cybercrime and how to shield themselves from cyber threats and attacks.

Mr. Philip Danquah Debrah, Business Operations Manager at e-Crime Bureau, noted that cybercrime has become more complex following continuous evolution of new and sophisticated technologies.

He said introduction of social media platforms like Facebook, twitter and Instagram among others expose unsuspicious persons mostly children to indecent acts like pornography and fake business deals.

He said many people who fell victims to cyber threats and attacks have little or no knowledge about the dangers, and therefore: “There is the need to come to the realisation of the risks to be able to face the threats”.

The students were advised to avoid predators by using standardised passwords that contained both numbers and alphabets, avoid sharing nude pictures and restrain themselves from being reactive on social media platforms.

“Know the people you chat with, you have to use the internet responsibly, don’t post nude pictures of yourselves, don’t share personal information with people you don’t know or uncomfortable with,” Mr Debrah said.

He warned that one could be blackmailed, defrauded or even be kidnapped via the internet if not used with caution and circumspection, and encouraged students to use internet for research and studies.