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MTN, Airtel and Stanbic Bank Uganda Lose Billions to Hackers

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MTN, Artel and Stanbic Bank Uganda were victims of a data breach targeting Pegasus Technologies, a mobile money transaction company. The hackers infiltrated the mobile money firm, resulting in the loss of billions of Ugandan shillings.

The breach affected Bank to mobile money transactions, resulting in the suspension of the service.

“Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda inform the public and their customers that on Saturday 3 October 2020, a third-party service provider experienced a system incident which impacted Bank to Mobile Money transactions. All Bank to Mobile Money/Wallet services have since been temporarily suspended,” reads an official statement from the companies.

Read: Hacker Leaks Transnational Bank Customer Data

“This system incident has had no impact on any balances on both Bank and Mobile Money accounts. Our technical teams are analyzing the incident and will restore services as soon as possible. We apologize to all customers for any inconvenience that this has caused and reiterate our commitment to delivering seamless banking and mobile money services.”

Managing Director of Pegasus Technologies Limited, Ronald Azairwe, could neither deny nor confirm the incident.

“Sadly I can’t comment on that. I can’t confirm or deny anything of the sort. I can’t speak about it. MTN/Stanbic/Airtel should be able to tell you whether it is Pegasus or not,” he said.

Read also: Hackers Attacked Corporate Networks 22 Million Times in The Last 7 Days

An unidentified source disclosed that the hackers accessed Pegasus Technologies’ system on Thursday night. The company handles MTN to Airtel, Airtel to MTN and their mobile to bank transactions. Pegasus also handles Stanbic Bank’s Flexipay, a cashless solution that allows users to pay for goods and services via mobile money.

“From Thursday night, the hack went on undetected until Saturday. By this time, hackers had sent themselves almost UGX1.3 billion but had managed to withdraw UGX900 million from Airtel Money. We estimate MTN also lost almost twice the same amount of money since they are mobile money leaders. When the fraud was detected all transactions going through Pegasus Technologies, were suspended,” said the source.

Uganda’s Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson, Twiine Charles, confirmed the incident.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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