Rwanda jails 8 Kenyans, Ugandan for hacking into Equity Bank

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The Rwanda Investigative Bureau arrested eight Kenyans, three Rwandan nationals and one Ugandan for attempting to hack into Equity Bank Rwanda’s clients’ accounts.

The criminals who were arrested while in the process of hacking into Equity Bank accounts were arrested last year on Friday, October 26th, and their dossiers forwarded to the prosecution authority. 

The Gasabo Intermediate court in Rwanda has now handed down the suspects eight years in prison and instructed them to pay Rwf50 million in damages and about Rwf3 million for other charges.

It’s reported that East African security teams had for a while been trailing the gang linked to bank hacking attempts in Kenya and Uganda and had later notified Rwandan officials in case they set up camp there. Equity Bank Managing Director, Hannington Namara explained that the crew had recently hit DFCU bank Uganda very badly, attempted to hit Equity Uganda, not successful, and when they were hunted, they decided to move to Rwanda.

Equity bank and Rwandan security agents had been alerted that the gang had entered the country and kickstarted their operations, including the recruitment of Rwandans they would use to take cash out of bank accounts.

The hackers were operating with insiders to identify targets with huge deposits and tried to intercept Equity Bank’s 14 branch networks and wrote computer scripts to move money to several local accounts of the recruited accomplices. By using the Eazzy banking platform to which the hackers tried to break into various times, the bank and security agents were able to intercept and track the criminals.

This is only one of the many increasing cybercrimes that have tripled from just 47 reported cases in 2017 to 113 cases in 2018, 64 of them committed in Kigali.

Rwanda is one of Africa’s fast-rising countries going digital and using clean energy in every sector, a great idealogy that is however still facing the changes of a growing number of cybercrimes as well. The country like many has nevertheless continued its plans to digitalize sectors with security and laws updated to meet the new challenges.

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