Yesterday, the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) launched a Cyber Security Awareness Campaign dubbed “Be Safe Online” focused on increasing public awareness and vigilance about the day-to-day cyber threats.
As per the, We Are Social x Hootsuite 2021 Digital report, there was a 14% increase in the number of internet users in Uganda following a 3.5% growth at the start of 2020. The NITA-U Executive Director, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa said, “With the number of internet users ever-increasing, there is a need to raise awareness about the cyber-related threats and to empower the Ugandan citizens with the knowledge and sense of shared responsibility to practice safe and informed decisions while using the internet.”
Michael Atingi-Ego, the deputy governor of, Bank of Uganda revealed that between June 2019 and June 2020, the value of internet banking transactions increased 52.9%. He also added that active users on the internet banking platforms grew by 36.7% during the same period citing coronavirus pandemic.
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This increase of new internet users trying to circumnavigate the pandemic’s ripple effects and adapt to technological changes has created the perfect breeding ground for hackers and bad actors. There are more risks of cyber threats to users who are unaware of cybersecurity mechanisms online.
“We need to remember as technology users that safeguarding the Internet is a responsibility we all share. Digital technologies and the Internet have transformed our everyday lives since we can now access information, conduct business, keep in touch with family and friends, and engage online, but we need to remember cyber-attacks are becoming more common.”NITA-U Executive Director, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa
According to Uganda Police files, reported Cybercrimes have increased from 62 cases in 2013 to 198 cases in 2018. Cyber threats have not only increased in frequency but also sophistication. This has resulted in the losses of hundreds of millions of shillings.
The cases handled by police included offenses related to electronic fraud, threatening violence, defamation, offensive communication, impersonation, cyber harassment, theft, pornography among others.
The cybersecurity awareness campaign is funded by the World Bank as part of the Regional Communications Infrastructure Project (RCIP).
RCIP Uganda has focused on complementary infrastructure investments to ensure greater access to affordable, high-quality Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and the development of a range of enabling e-Government foundations such as shared infrastructure and e-services for MDAs (Ministries, Departments, and Agencies) among other interventions.
On the side of proactive protection measures, NITA-U has in place the Uganda National Computer Emergency Response Team and Coordination Center to effectively analyze and respond to cyber threats for better protection of Uganda’s critical digital infrastructure and the availability of dependent services and support provided to the government agencies, citizens and businesses.
NITA-U’s Cyber Security Awareness Campaign “Be Safe Online” is to help it deliver on its promise of safeguarding the Ugandan people.