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MPs, Lawyers paying millions to hackers to conceal nudes- Police

FILE PHOTO: Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango says Police Cyber Unit has received dozens of complaints from prominent individuals saying they are tired of paying millions to hackers who claim to be in possession of their nudes

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Hackers are conning elite Ugandans of their hard earned cash with threats of exposing their nudes and pictures to the public according to Uganda Police Force. The Police Cyber Unit at the Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID and its sister branch at Kampala Central Police Station –CPS have recorded numerous complaints from elites over the past three months relating to the hackers.

The complainants include among others MPs, lawyers, doctors and prominent business persons. The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango says Police Cyber Unit has received dozens of complaints from prominent individuals saying they are tired of paying millions to hackers who claim to be in possession of their nudes.

“The unit [cyber] has received over 100 complaints from prominent Ugandans including corporates, business people, lawyers, doctors, MPs and others claiming that unknown persons sent them photo-shopped photographs showing them in compromising positions and are demanding money not to publish them on social media,” Onyango said.

An officer in the unit revealed that some elites especially lawyers, businesspersons and MPs have had to part with between US$1000 [about Shillings 3.6 million] and US$10000 [Shillings 36 million] to pay off the hackers and other cyber bullies. Onyango confirmed that some victims have indeed paid the money fearing that their pictures or videos in compromised positions would be leaked to the public.

He also disclosed that three prominent persons lodged complaints with the cyber unit two days ago. “Our investigations show that the criminals target prominent people and get a range of their photographs. Criminals then get nude photos from the internet and use computer applications to photo-shop them to appear as if their victims were having sexual intercourse on camera,” Onyango said.

In her report issued on Tuesday this week, the CID Grace Akullo said Shillings 11.4 billion was lost in cyber-crimes in 2019. She indicated an increase in cyber cases, saying they had recorded 248 cyber cases in 2019 compared to 198 in 2018. Akullo said some cyber criminals work with unscrupulous telephone company agents to fraudulently obtain the bio metrics of unsuspecting persons more than once and several copies their National Identity card for use in crime.

Criminals later register more than one SIM card in the names of the unsuspecting persons whose bio metrics have been taken. According to CID, in some incidents, the agents sell pre-registered SIM cards to people with criminal intentions.

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