Hackers use computers to access banks' money systems

In the recently compiled figures by Interpol-Uganda, hackers have become more lethal during the current #Covid-19 pandemic era. Statistics on cyber-crimes contained in a report by Interpol director Charles Birungi indicates Shs14b were lost to fraudsters.

Interpol suggested that they have lost this money in more than 200 cases of hi-tech, international, and economic crimes. Of these, bank fraud, issuance of fake visas, and online business fraud topped the list.

A Police IT expert said hackers access bank systems every month. However, banks decide to stay silent so as not to cause panic among their clients. The policeman who preferred anonymity based on the fact that in the last twelve months, banks have lost over $3 million (about Shs10.9 billion).

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“Of the $4 million (total) you are seeing, $3 million was recorded in just 10 cases of bank fraud. These banks were bold enough to come out and seek intervention in tracing for hackers based here and outside countries. But they don’t report a majority of the cases. They know if they keep reporting, people will feel insecure when their money is kept in the bank that is often hacked,’’ he said.

Paul Senoga, an IT expert agrees with the police that banks conceal a lot of information about their illegally accessed systems. He said the hackers keep on checking on the bank systems until eventually, they are able to access using malware.

As a solution, Senoga urges companies to always hire permanent and competent people who keep testing their own systems. He said this will purposefully help to spot loopholes early enough.

Once someone gains access to your bank account, they can transfer the money to anybody or any account they want. The banks have come with Apps to simplify banking but they are suffering. Money is being wiped off accounts. Banks are not just revealing what is happening but it’s huge,” Senoga said.

Citing an example of recent unauthorized access to Kyambogo University’s system where data for more than 2,500 students was deleted, CID spokesperson Charles Twiine, advises companies to avoid hiring outsiders to run their systems. He argues that a person who is not a permanent staff would disrupt the system once a disagreement erupts.

Apart from bank fraud that took a lion’s share of money lost to cyber kingpins, the issuance of fake visa came second with $542,500 (Shs1.9 billion). Online business fraud caused loss of $112,441 (over Shs 393 million), internet fraud caused losses of Shs300 million while email hacking caused a loss of Shs124 million.

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