Mobile financial services in Ghana - Measures for achieving safety and security of services

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The use of mobile phones has become part of the daily activities of about ninety percent of Ghanaian adults. This has contributed to the rapid adoption of mobile financial services by Ghanaians. In 2014, Bank of Ghana reported over two million registered users. Africa and the rest of the world have also experienced this exponential growth in the use of mobile financial services. Due to the huge money it is raising in that sector, fraudsters have made several attempts on these systems leading to the loss of enormous sums of money. The objective of this study is to understand the mobile financial service ecosystem in Ghana and internationally, assess what risks users may face and suggest measures to help prevent or reduce the effects of these risks. In order to better understand the concept of mobile financial service, some academic papers were reviewed revealing the components of the ecosystem, risks that these players may face and some proposed solutions by scholars. Case studies, in-depth interviews and secondary data were gathered for this research. Findings from the data collected show that some risks users may face include: malware infection of devices or point of sale terminals, corruption of information stored on the server of acquirers or service providers, theft of data during transaction, including man-in-the middle attacks, advanced persistent thefts and insecure data connectivity. Also some mitigation measures to these threats include enforcement of two factor authentication on systems, securing data connections using Secured Socket Layer (SSL) authentication, secure configuration, hardening of critical servers and data encryption during transactions. This study is limited geographically because the interviews held included players in the mobile financial service ecosystem in Accra only. Also only three companies were interviewed for this study due to the limited time constraint.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Computer Science, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems, April 2017
Accra, risk, mobile financial services, mobile money, cyberfraud