Uganda faces major challenges in fight against cybercrime

World Today

Police in Uganda said they continue to face several challenges in tackling cyber crime. Statistics have shown that electronic fraud has cost the East African economy half a million in losses between August-November 2014. CCTV’s Isabel Nakirya reported this story from Kampala, Uganda.

Uganda faces major challenges in fight against cybercrime

Police in Uganda said they continue to face several challenges in tackling cyber crime. Statistics have shown that electronic fraud has cost the East African economy half a million in losses between August-November 2014. CCTV's Isabel Nakirya reports from Kampala.

According to Ugandan police, more than 700 people were victims of either email hacking or electronic money transfer fraud during this period.

Criminals are setting up identical websites to resemble genuine ones and these cloned sites are used to illegally transfer money.

Security agents are worried that thousands of dollars are being wired out of the country to be used to form terrorism rings.

“The ease with opening a website is you can set up an account and you may not be noticed. Not many governments have divisions in the area of cyber-defense,” Jimmy Haguma head of cybercrime for the Ugandan police said. “People set up sites which have back ends, meaning they can permit people to transfer money from one country to the other especially for acts like terrorism.”

Uganda registers about 60 cybercrime related cases every year but many cases go unreported.

“You will find these are highly trained people, some have trained in different countries, they are highly educated and so its unfortunate but this is white-collar crime,” Haguma said. “That is why it is equally important that the law enforcement officers are trained and equipped to deal with this type of crime.”

Cybersecurity experts said the government is not doing enough to track down cybercriminals.

“Government only comes in when they have been informed that something is going on somewhere, maybe by the bank. There is no active monitoring of transactions that are moving into and out of the country. They usually depend on the banks because banks have systems where an alarm is raised whenever there is a transaction that exceeds the threshold,” Johnson Mwebaze, information and computer technology director for Uganda Technology and Management University said.

Experts have said unless Uganda’s government puts in place effective monitoring mechanisms, it will not be able to crackdown on cybercrimes.

Police have said they are building the capacity to fight the problem with a specialized cybercrime forensic lab expected to be built by 2016.