Panic at Parliament, MPs lose money to hackers

Posted: 2018-02-15T15:32:08Z
Panic at Parliament, MPs lose money to hackers

With a number of Ugandan members of parliament struggling to understand the use of different gadgets including phones and Ipads, they are now being conned in a new Sim Swap fraud, a sophisticated form of fraud that allows hackers to gain access to personal phones. 

This came to light after Mwine Mpaka the Western Youth MP reported that his Simcard was blocked, two days ago, but his number remained active. Mwine Mpaka says that although he personally couldn't receive or make calls, a fraudster was using his Simcard to call and send messages to his contacts asking for money.

The youthful legislator says he reported the case to Police and to MTN, the mobile telecom service provider and when his line was restored, he found himself on a cabinet WhatsApp group he had never been added to, considering he isn’t a minister. 

According to Mwine, although he attempted to reach Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) in regards to the fraud, he was assured that they do not have the comprehensive equipment to handle such.

 His case comes after that of Ishma Mafabi the Eastern Youth MP whose phone was reportedly hacked in the same manner, in December last year. Members of Parliament reportedly received messages asking for money from Mafabi, but this was actually someone else who had hacked into his phone. Some MPs reportedly sent in the money thinking it was actually Mafabi.

These cases where criminals take over victim's cell phone numbers and use them to get into the victim's bank accounts have been reported by members of the public in the past.
Tech experts have also warned that taking control of someone's phone number is easier than previously thought.

Obiga Kania, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, promised to work together with the Ministry of Information and communications technology (ICT) to ensure that the matter is addressed.

Meanwhile, the UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi also warned that hackers are developing technology now and then to bypass available security measures.