Team set up to probe hacking of Stanbic Bank, MTN and Airtel systems


Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate Grace Akullo has set up a team to investigate the alleged hacking into the electronic systems of Stanbic Bank and two telecom companies (MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda).

The hackers allegedly accessed systems of Pegasus technologies that manage electronic transactions of telecom companies such as MTN and Airtel, Stanbic Bank. The incident was noticed last week on Friday 2nd, October 2020 evening.

Charles Twine, the CID Spokesperson confirmed that a team was investigating the incident. He added that he was yet to be briefed on the details of the preliminary investigations.

“I can say we have been notified about the incident and a team is already on it. But I can’t tell you what exactly happened because I haven’t been briefed,” Twine told this publication at CID.

Anne Juuko, Chief Executive Officer –CEO of Stanbic Bank, Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO MTN Uganda and VG Somasekhar, the Managing Director Airtel issued a joint statement on Monday 5th that their third-party service provider experienced a system incident which impacted bank to mobile money transactions.

“All banks to mobile money services have since been temporarily suspended. This system incident has had no impact on any balances on both bank and mobile money accounts,” the statement read in part.

Team set up to probe hacking of Stanbic Bank, MTN and Airtel systems
Common cyber threats

This publication understands that Pegasus that manages the electronic transactions for the affected institutions on Monday 5th opened a case at Jinja road police station but also alerted the cyber unit at CID headquarters in Kibuli.

“Pegasus indicated that they had noticed that there was unauthorized access to their systems, particularly for their telecom and bank clients. They indicated that they needed police to quickly help in tracing for the culprits,” a senior cyber officer intimated to this publication at CID.

Efforts to secure a comment from Pegasus were futile as Joshua Mandera, the project manager contact was off.

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Although Juuko, Vanhelleputte and Somasekhar indicated that the incident had no any impact on customers balances, a cyber-officer who had met with officials from Pegasus indicated the hackers erroneously conducted some transactions whose magnitude in money terms was still being evaluated.

System hacking caused a loss of 11.4 Billion Shillings last year according to CID records.

However, the cyber team managed to recover only 51 million shillings. Twine is optimistic that the robust cyber team CID is gradually setting up and will soon make it difficult for hackers.