In 2016, Rwanda recorded 74 cybercrime cases involving Rwf1.3 billion and €340,000. In 2017, the number increased to 80 cases, doubling the funds to Rwf2.6 12,101,816 and $605,028.
Rwanda National Police says six institutions were affected by the cyber-attacks.
According to the Governor of the Central Bank, John Rwangombwa, there has been an average of 8,000,000 financil cyber attacks per year.
“Rwanda aims to be a cashless driven economy and most of bank transactions going digital, people should be aware of the risks associated with these technologies.”
Rwangombwa made the remarks on Friday, January 19, 2018, during a consultative meeting on Cyber and Financial Crimes held at the Rwanda National Police Headquarters.
ACP Peter Karake,t he Commissioner of IT and Cyber Crime Investigation in Rwanda National Police, said cyber crimes in Rwanda have not attained a high level, but cyber crimes are already a global threat.
“Rwanda has adopted a policy to be a cashless driven economy, cybercrime may increase in the future. So, there is a need for Rwandans and financial institutions to be aware of the strategies to fight this problem,” he explained.
However, ACP Karake said that among the cyber attacks, which were aimed at Rwandan financial institutions, “95% of the money involved in 2016 and 2017 was returned back.”
He said that some crimes witnessed in Rwanda “happen when a staff from a certain bank shares secret pins or passwords to hackers.”
Other forms of fraud include Mobile Telephone subscribers being hoodwinked for winning a certain amount of money only to be led into a trap to loose money.
Email hacks are also rampant, using stolen IDs to register sim-cards to name but a few.
ACP Karake added that drivers of cyber crime include, gaps in regulating laws, increase of new forms of modern technology, global connectivity, corruption, weak states, lack of awareness on cyber threats and low expertise in IT security.
The Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana said “although cyber related crimes are relatively a new phenomenon in Rwanda, the existing cases remain a threat to the national economy and development.”
IGP Gasana said that there is a need for establishing a national cyber security agency, timely information sharing, strategy for each financial institution to have IT security infrastructure and raising awareness on cybercrime.
Meanwhile, Central Bank governor revealed that “criminals are constantly developing new techniques to cyber crime, we need to keep a constant review on activities carried out in banks.”
According to official figures, in 2016, Rwanda faced 1000 cyber-attacks everyday. Most of them were blocked before affecting any institution, company or individual.
The attacks, which were mostly aimed at banks, targeted to steal $700,000 but did not succeed.
The most known cyber-attack Rwanda faced was in 2016 when $516,000 was stolen from Rwanda Education Board. The money meant for tuition for 14 Rwandan students in Nigeria was diverted to an account in Spain.
Figures indicate that African countries lost $2 billion in 2016, with Kenya recording the highest loss of $171 million, Tanzania losing $85million while Ugandan companies lost $35 million.
According to an analysis conducted by Cyber Security Ventures, the cost of cybercrime could reach $6 trillion by 2021 (global annual cybercrime costs has been estimated $3 trillion in 2015).