By Taddeo Bwambale
The Government has set up a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), a specialised unit under the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to detect internet crime in the country.
The unit will prowl the internet to monitor and report high-tech crimes including cyber-based terrorism, computer intrusions, online sexual exploitation, and major cyber frauds.
The UCC director of technology and licensing, Eng Patrick Mwesigwa said the regulator had also acquired equipment to be used to monitor such crimes.
"We have acquired some of the specialised equipment and installation is expected to start in October. We expect the facility to be operational by the end of the year," he said.
"The facility will reduce the infiltration of malicious content such as malware, viruses and spam, as well as enhance security of online access in the country."
He was presenting a paper at the 2012 Uganda National Internet Governance Forum held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
Mwesigwa said a team of IT experts would be hired to trace suspected cases of abuse, with the help of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the UN.
The establishment of the cybercrime unit comes amidst a growing number of threats in Uganda and other parts of the world. Recently, hackers infiltrated several government websites including those belonging to the ministries of agriculture and defense, and the Mulago Hospital website.
Although internet crime is relatively new in Uganda, it is one of the world's fastest growing crimes. A 2010 report by Global Cyber security Agenda showed that there were at least 280 million web attacks on individuals and organisations worldwide.
It is estimated that annual cybercrime accounts for more than US$105 billion in online property losses worldwide every year.
Last year, the Government enacted the Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signatures Act and the Computer Misuse Act to prevent cybercrime. The first two laws are, however, yet to be operationalised.
In December this year, world leaders will convene for a global conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to discuss proposed telecommunications regulations to curb internet crime.