A major hack that compromised Uganda’s mobile money network has plunged the country’s telecoms and banking sectors into crisis.
The Oct. 3 hack was a result of a security breach on a consumer finance aggregator, Pegasus Technologies, which mainly affected bank to mobile wallet transfers, according to an Oct. 8 statement by MTN Uganda, the country’s largest mobile phone company. Kampala-based Pegasus Technologies provides financial and billing solutions for various companies including all the affected entities.
At least $3.2 million is estimated to have been stolen in this latest incident with some reports quoting a much higher figure. The hackers used around 2,000 mobile SIM cards to gain access to the mobile money payment system, according to local papers. They then instructed the banks to transfer millions of dollars to telecommunication companies who then paid out mobile money to these different SIM cards across the country.