The National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GH) of Ghana’s Cyber Security Authority (CSA) organised a cyber drill (tabletop exercise) for Sectoral CERTs and other selected constituents as part of activities marking National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2023 .

The participating institutions were the National Communications Authority (NCA), the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), the National Signals Bureau (NSB), the Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), and the Ghanaian Academic and Research Network (GARNET) .

Explaining the rationale for the exercise, the Lead at the National CERT at the CSA, Mr. Stephen Cudjoe-Seshie, said the core objective was to examine the preparedness of the National and Sectoral CERTs to protect against, identify, detect, respond to, and recover from a disruptive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by examining the preparedness of Sectoral CERTs to protect themselves and their constituents from a DDoS attack and looking into the information sharing protocols of Sectoral CERTs with internal and external stakeholders and partners, including commercial service providers .

Other objectives, he added, were to review the reporting protocols of Sectoral CERTs considering the provisions of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) as well as assess the communications plans of Sectoral CERTs to respond to inquiries from the public regarding a DDoS attack .

A DDoS attack aims to overwhelm the devices, services, and network of the intended target with fake traffic, rendering them unavailable for legitimate users. The attack utilises thousands (even millions) of compromised devices to fulfill its goal .

“This exercise is meant to be a platform for the more experienced constituents to share their best practices with the rest of the community as well as build a network to facilitate information sharing,” Mr. Cudjoe-Seshie added .

Prior to the actual cyber drill, a principal engineer at NETSCOUT engaged the participants in a virtual session to present the latest trends in DDoS attacks. NETSCOUT is a trusted leader in DDoS protection solutions that has its headquarters in Westford, Massachusetts, USA .

Some of the participants who shared their thoughts at the end of the session regarded the exercise as insightful and very educational, emphasising that it had provided them with an opportunity to construct a network of contacts to help them with their work.