MTN, Airtel Mobile Money Services Suspended after “Alleged System Hack”

Airtel and MTN Uganda have announced a temporary suspension of mobile money services after an alleged hack into their systems.

The Daily Express understands that over the weekend, unknown hackers broke into the system of Pegasus Technologies before taking off with an unspecified amount of money belonging to several companies including banks and telecos.

Pegasus Technologies is the company that translates money from banks into mobile money transfers between banks and telecom companies.

The company’s flagship product, PegPay payments platform which is used by several institutions including banks, telecoms and utility companies such, retailers, Pay-Tv providers’ and schools helps aggregate and manage financial transactions for both internal and external purposes.

Pegasus also offers e-commerce services where organisations with websites or mobile applications are allowed to vend their services online and receive payments online.

However, according to a joint statement released on Monday by Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN and Airtel, they got issues with their systems.

“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 joint statement read in part.

The three companies however assured their customers that there was no impact on their monies.

“Our technical teams are analysing the incident and will restore services as soon as possible. We apologise to all customers for any inconvenience that this has caused and reiterate our commitment to delivering seamless banking and mobile money services.”

In another joint statement by Airtel and MTN Uganda, the telecom companies announced a temporary suspension of mobile money services over the weekend incident.

“MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda wish to inform the public and their customers that due to unprecedented technical challenges, mobile money services between the two networks are temporarily suspended. Our technical teams are working together to resolve the challenges and restore the services as soon as possible,” a joint statement by the companies said.

Whereas the three companies say nothing was lost, it is suspected that huge sums of money were taken by the unidentified hackers who took advantage of the weekend to force themselves into the company’s systems.

The Annual Police crime report for the year 2019 released in May indicated that criminals stole Shs438m from dfcu Bank and Shs800m from Centenary Bank and that in both incidents, the money was transferred to mobile money accounts.

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