(Bloomberg) —

Loading...

Load Error

Uganda’s police are searching for hackers who accessed the systems of a third party that processes phone-based transactions, with companies affected including MTN Group and Standard Bank Group’s local units.

The fraudsters got into the mobile-money systems and stole funds, according to Charles Twine, spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Department. Investigations will help identify how the systems were hacked, the people involved and the amount of money stolen, he said.

The “system incident” at the third party “impacted bank-to-mobile money transactions,” MTN Uganda, Stanbic Bank Uganda and Airtel Africa’s local unit said in a joint statement.

Mobile money, as it’s known, is popular in Africa for making payments for everything from groceries to utility bills, with options to borrow, save and invest using almost any type of cellphone. The system has become indispensable that governments also uses it for services, and breaches would have far-reaching impact.

READ: Virus Is Hastening Mobile-Banking Pioneer’s Race to Replace Cash

Mobile-money payments in Uganda increased 19% to 79.8 trillion Ugandan shillings ($21.5 billion) in the year to end-June, according to the central bank. In Kenya, the value of such transactions in the seven months through July increased 4% year-on-year to 2.6 trillion Kenyan shillings ($24 billion).

Some services were suspended as a precaution, and mobile-money users’ account balances weren’t affected, MTN said in a separate statement.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Welcome to Personal Finance Insider, a bimonthly newsletter that connects you with the stories, strategies, and tips you need to be better with money.

PFI Newsletter Decision Making 4x3



Alyssa Powell/Business Insider


Here’s what: My hack for making simple money decisions

It took me years to admit I have decision paralysis.

That is to say, it can be really difficult for me to make even the simplest decisions in my personal life, from what to get for dinner to what soap scent to buy. I’ll often ask someone else to choose for me or just abandon the task at hand.

I used to tell myself I was being thoughtful or methodical, but it’s really just a self-imposed burden — especially when it comes to money. Somewhat miraculously, I’ve managed to hack my own decision-making system so my finances won’t suffer the same fate as my wardrobe (clothes shopping is my decision muscle’s worst enemy). The key is automation.

I make one initial decision — like how much to save and how often — and then I set the rest on autopilot. That means twice a month, every month, my 401(k) gets a little boost, as does my high-yield savings account. I don’t have to obsess over how much I should be saving or whether it’s the right time to invest, it’s just happening. And since that money is taken out of my pay first, deciding how much I should be spending monthly is a nonstarter. What’s left over after savings is my spending money, and a good chunk of that goes toward automatic subscriptions, bills, and memberships, again removing the need to continually weigh my options.

But I’ll admit my system has one potentially fatal flaw. Up until now, I’ve always checked in on these decisions ad hoc — Should I increase my 401(k) deferral

You need to recognize that your desire to show people how smart you are, or to impress people with your wealth, or prove how quickly you can make money, which causes you to do insufficient research, can lead you to these bad decisions.

Accept that you are flawed, he says, and you will have a chance of doing the right thing. “Do not aim to be coldly rational when making financial decisions,” he says. “Aim to be pretty reasonable. Reasonable is more realistic and you have a better chance of sticking with it for the long run.”

Mr. Housel offers two examples of reasonableness: Try to defer gratification, recognizing that wealth is created by not spending today so that you have more options in the future. And try to maintain a long horizon.

“Time is the most powerful force in investing,” he says. “It makes little things grow big and big mistakes fade away.”

As much as I like this book, it’s not perfect.

For example, Mr. Housel writes, “How you behave is more important than what you know.” While it’s certainly true that your behavior can undermine the best financial plans, it’s also true that if you know nothing about finance and make your own investment decisions anyway, you are leaving things up to chance.

I have the same problem with his claim that “an investor can be wrong half the time, and still make a fortune.” In one sense, that’s true. Here’s an interpretation that puts the comment in the best light. Say you buy 10 individual stocks that are all priced at $20 a share. If four rise 10 percent over the year, five fall 10 percent, and one increases by a factor of 20, you are a big winner.

But taking Mr. Housel’s comment literally could

The recent $200 million hack of Singapore-based major cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin has been making headlines, but the difference between this attack and others in the past has been the hacker’s blatant utilization of everyone’s favourite new crypto frontier – DeFi (decentralized finance).

The KuCoin hacker must have had a lightbulb moment after the crypto media outlet Cointelegraph published the piece Regulatory risks grow for DeFi as a ‘money laundering haven’ not two weeks ago. Bing!

Generally it seems that the true innovation occurring in financial service is happening in DeFi. Imagine redesigning all financial products from scratch? The possibilities are endless. With $1 Billion locked into DeFi at the beginning of 2020, the figure has been increasing rapidly, currently standing at close to $10 Billion – a 10x increase. This is a very young sector with most of the operators not exceeding even 9 months. Mistakes are being made.

As is often the case, these innovations come with a whole lot of compliance risks – such as zero KYC/AML requirements for users on decentralised crypto-lending platforms. No safeguards are put on transaction monitoring so even proliferation financing sanctions can be breached by back-street uranium bargain hunters. 

The lack of these basic safeguards leaves this quickly growing sphere at risk from the influence of bad actors and the majority of these DeFi projects would be treated as money laundering schemes if held to the same level of centralised VASPs – exposing some of the great teams involved in the space to the risks of being party to money laundering and terrorist financing. 

The KuCoin hacker flew that flag when he/she took $millions in Synthetix tokens to the largest decentralised exchange (DEX), Uniswap and another DeFi swap provider, KyberSwap. And the KuCoin event is not the first