By Felix Oketcho
The Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), Dr Hatwib Mugasa has warned the public against increasing misuse of cyberspace.
“With the advent of the online system of work due to covid 19 pandemic lockdown, we noticed cases of cybercrime cases on increase, therefore we caution the public to be alert on computer information through a share,” Dr Mugasa said while calling upon stakeholders to come together and address cybersecurity concerns.
Mugasa noted these at the Cyber Security Awareness conference aimed at increasing public awareness and vigilance about the day today cyber threats dubbed ‘Do Your Part Be Cybersmart’ at Serena Hotel Kampala.
He observed that due to the rapid growth in internet users in the country, there is a much-needed purpose of raising awareness about cyber-related threats and empowering the Ugandan citizens with the knowledge and sense of shared responsibility to practise a safe and informed decision while using the Internet.
“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 and devise means to raise awareness and address them,” said Dr Mugasa.
Arnold Mangeni who is NITA-U’s Director for Information Security said that the government is committed to enhancing cyber security in all sectors of the economy.
“Government of Uganda acknowledges the importance of creating an environment that allows secure and safe digital transactions for Ugandan citizens. The government has put in place the National Information Security Framework which provides for minimum security guidelines for every government agency and the critical information infrastructure each entity is required to maintain. This include incident response and crisis management largely focused on prevention and proactive approach,” he stressed.
Mangeni however said they have launched a cyber security awareness campaign dubbed ”Be Safe Online NITA-U” aiming to continue delivering its promise of safeguarding the Ugandan people every step of the way.
The head of the Uganda Police Cyber Crimes in the Directorate of Forensics Services, Jimmy Haguma warned Ugandans to be alert about the increasing cases of fraud, arising out of identity thefts.
Haguma said several Ugandans have been defrauded through fake social media accounts, cautioning that the users should be careful before they decide on the messages they receive online.
“You have heard of identity thefts? Sometimes people create accounts that purport to be who you are. Because you do not need money to create an account. You only need internet and there is no limit on the number of emails you can have,” he said.
“People now create emails out of other people’s names. You may receive an email from my name and you think it’s genuine. Please don’t believe anything online until you validate it and confirm it,” Haguma warned.
According to the police crime 2020 report, Uganda lost close to 20billion due to cybercrime cases.