The third edition of the National Cybersecurity Challenge (NCC) has been launched in Accra with seventy schools billed to participate in this year’s competition.

The increment of participatory schools from fifty to seventy reflects the growing complexity of online threats and the Cyber Security Authority’s dedication to equipping Ghana's youth with the necessary tools to navigate the digital landscape safely and responsibly.

This year’s NCC is under the theme "Empowering young minds, creating opportunities, promoting a safer digital Ghana."

Launching the challenge, the Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, giving a background to the challenge intimated that the Authority successfully organised the maiden edition of the NCC in October 2022, as part of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Accra among six Senior High Schools selected from five regions in the country.

He explained that the initiative was aimed at promoting cyber safety and awareness among high school students by providing them with firsthand experiences in identifying, preventing, and mitigating digital threats, especially child online sexual exploitation and abuse.

“They were further prepared and quizzed on the Child Online Protection (COP) provisions in the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), digital footprint, social engineering, and open-source intelligence, among others and encouraged to pursue careers in cybersecurity,” he added.

Dr. Antwi-Boasiako indicated that to build on the gains achieved in the 2022 NCC, the CSA scaled up the competition in 2023 to reach 50 schools in all 16 regions of Ghana, as online vulnerabilities, risks, and threats continue to proliferate and increase in complexity.

He added that the NCC was thus being institutionalised to be an annual rallying point for students across the country to compete in exciting exercises demonstrating their knowledge of safe online practices and to avoid conflicting with the law.

Touching on the rationale behind increasing the number of participating schools to seventy, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako stated that the objectives were primarily to enhance awareness of cybersecurity best practices for students to address the growing concern of the vulnerability of students online.

“It is also to equip them with the skills to interact with digital technology confidently, safely, and responsibly, be peer advocates for safe online practices, and direct students to cybersecurity career paths,” he added.