NITA-U Executive Director, Hatwib Mugasa says as the number of internet users grows, Ugandans need to be aware of cyber-related threats

The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) has launched a Cyber Security Awareness Campaign dubbed ‘be safe online’ aimed at increasing the public awareness and vigilance about the day-to-day cyber threats.

The campaign is funded by the World Bank as part of the Regional Communications Infrastructure Project (RCIP).

RCIP Uganda has focused on complimentary infrastructure investments to ensure greater access to affordable, high quality Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and development of a range of enabling e-Government foundations such as shared infrastructure and e-services for Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

With increased access to Internet through the extension of affordable broadband, there is bound to be an increase in the number of Internet users in the country and thus more risks to cyber threats to users who are unaware of cyber security mechanisms online.

The NITA-U Executive Director, Hatwib Mugasa said, “As the total number of internet users continues to grow, we are launching this campaign with a goal of raising awareness about the cyber-related threats out there and to empower the Ugandan citizens with the knowledge and sense of shared responsibility to practice safe and informed decisions while using the internet.”

Mugasa said: “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.” 

The agency said, cyber threats in Africa and in Uganda have increased over the years in terms of frequency and sophistication. 

Cybercrimes reported to the Uganda Police Force have increased from 62 cases in 2013 to 198 cases in 2018. 

That has resulted into the losses in hundreds of millions of shillings. Cases handled by police relates to electronic fraud, threatening violence, defamation, offensive communication, impersonation, cyber harassment, theft, pornography and more. 

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.