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Cyber Terror: How Hackers Hit Kenya

Key online government services were hit

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Kenya’s online infrastructure faced one of the biggest large-scale attacks it has ever experienced on Thursday, July 27 – as key online government services as well as mobile money systems were hit, exposing massive cyber-security vulnerabilities.

Among them were the government’s eCitizen platform which hosts thousands of government services, including business registration, e-visa issuance, marriage registration and more.

Confirming the attack, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that visas would be issued on arrival as the e-visa issuance platform was down.

“…There is currently a challenge in the Government e-Citizen platform, which is impacting the processing of e-visa. Therefore, travelers will be issued visa upon arrival at all entry points to Kenya. The government also wishes to advise all airlines to on-board travelers destined to Kenya,” the ministry shared in a memo to diplomatic missions and international organizations.

Kenya Railways also reported outages on its online ticket purchase platform, causing it to suspend digital ticket sales.

“We are working with the service provider to restore normalcy as soon as possible,” the corporation shared.

Kenyans also ran into challenges when attempting to purchase electricity tokens from Kenya Power via mobile money.

Numerous Kenyans also reported challenges accessing Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money platform, particularly on the M-Pesa app, although issues with the platform were later resolved.

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A hacker group calling itself Anonymous Sudan took credit for the attack. The move comes against the backdrop of Sudanese generals lashing out against Kenya’s President William Ruto over what they consider to be bias in the ongoing conflict in the country.

General Yasir Alatta, the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), on Sunday publicly accused President Ruto of “being a mercenary for another country”.

The General called for the replacement of Ruto as chairman of the IGAD quartet comprising the leaders of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Djibouti looking to resolve the conflict of Sudan. Opposing the proposal by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the deployment of an East African standby force to protect civilians and aid workers, Alatta stated that they would only consider IGAD’s proposals after Ruto’s removal from the post.

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