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Uganda’s Largest Mobile Money Transfer Service Hacked

Unidentified hackers Tuesday broke into the systems of a company that integrates mobile money transactions between telcos, banks, and other local, regional, and international money transfer services. The hackers made away with a yet to be known sum, believed to be in billions of shillings.

Airtel and MTN Uganda, as well as Stanbic Bank, were the most affected firms.

Anne Juuko, Wim Vanhelleputte, and VG Somasekhar, the CEOs of Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN Uganda, and Airtel Uganda respectively would later  admit in a statement of  an “incident”, but failed to diverge further details.

“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,” the trio said.

“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,” the statement added.

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

Established in 2007, Pegasus handles up to UGX1.7 trillion in financial transactions annually. This includes mobile money aggregation, mobile payments and remittances, loans and savings, and value-added services such as SMS, airtime, and data loading.

Its flagship product, PegPay payments platform, is currently being used by several institutions including banks, telecoms, and utility companies such, retailers, Pay-Tv providers’ and schools, to aggregate and manage financial transactions for both internal and external purposes.