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MTN Speaks on Pegasus Security Breach; Police Hunt Hackers

MTN Uganda has confirmed that aggregator, Pegasus Technologies Ltd, was hacked into which affected bank to wallet transfers.

The telecom, however, denied losing money in the scam.

“On 3 October 2020, an aggregator, Pegasus Technologies Ltd experienced a security breach that impacted Bank 2 Wallet transfers,” said Wim Vanhelleputte, Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda.

The telecom provides select mobile money services aggregated or integrated through third parties.

This is the first time MTN is publicly exposing Pegasus for the security breach.

Pegasus is yet to issue a statement on the incident and efforts to obtain a comment from them remains futile as the bosses don’t respond to messages or return calls.

Wim observed that although the “incident did not affect any customer money mobile balances, a limited number of other services aggregated through the third-party provider were suspended as a precautionary safety measure.”

The core MTN Mobile Money services namely cash deposits, withdrawals, Person to Person (P2P) transactions and MoMo payments were never affected nor compromised at any stage, said Wim.

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ChimpReports earlier this week reported that Ugandan banks and telecoms which were targeted in the sim-card fraud, leading to the theft of about Shs 5bn, ignored an ‘information security vulnerability alert’ issued by government’s cyber team, Cert.

“A North Korean group known as BuggleBoys is targeting financial sectors across the globe using a Remote Access Tool (RAT) malware for exploiting weak network and system defenses,” Cert, said in an advisory to financial institutions in the country on September 7, 2020.

It remains to be seen if BuggleBoys were behind the attack or the hacking was masterminded by Pegasus’ staff or former staff.

Police said they were investigating the matter. As on Wednesday, police were yet to hold suspects in this fraud.

Wim said investigations led by the Uganda Police Force were ongoing to identify the root cause of the incident, implying other security organs could be involved in the probe.

“We are confident the Uganda Police Force will conclude their investigations timeously and take appropriate action against the culprits,” said Wim, adding, “The MTN mobile money platform complies with the highest international ICT security standards and is subjected to regular assessments and reviews by internal and external assurance providers.”

As at 31st December 2018, MTN Uganda recorded 11.2 million subscribers across Uganda.

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