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HomeNewsKenya's government hit by cyber-attack

Kenya’s government hit by cyber-attack

Kenya’s government has been hit by a cyber-attack that has affected services on a key government online platform, eCitizen.

The attack has also affected some private companies, although the extent is not yet clear.

A group calling itself Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group says it attacked Kenya because “Kenya has been attempting to meddle in Sudanese affairs and released statements doubting the sovereignty of our government.”

The attack was mainly a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service), a tried and tested method used by hackers to flood online services with traffic in an attempt to overwhelm the system and cause it to go offline.

Kenya’s government has said that it has managed to block the source of the attack, but intermittent interruptions continue to affect the normal speed and access of services on the online platform.

The attack has had a significant impact on Kenyans, who rely on eCitizen for a variety of services, including:

  • passport applications and renewal,
  • issuing e-visas for foreigners visiting the country,
  • issuing driving licenses, identification cards, and national health records.

The government has been forced to promise visas on arrival for visitors who would have qualified for e-visas due to the challenges with the eCitizen system.

There have also been disruptions to train-booking systems and payment for electricity.

Mobile-money banking services were also affected, and people relying on the popular mobile-money service M-Pesa to make payments at shops, public transport vehicles, hotels, and other platforms also experienced difficulties.

The attack is a reminder of the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and the need for governments and businesses to take steps to protect themselves.

Experts say Kenya was well prepared for attack

Cyber-security experts say that Kenya was well prepared for the attack, and that the government’s response has been swift and effective.

“Kenya is probably as well prepared as any government in Africa to respond to such an attack,” said Nathaniel Allen, a cyber-security expert from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. “It has a well developed cyber-security and computer-security emerging response infrastructure. It ranks 51st out of 182 countries on the UN ITU’s Cybersecurity Commitment Index.”

However, Allen pointed out that the attack shows “the dangers of becoming dependent on digital technology for critical economic functions without taking cybersecurity seriously.”

“To some extent, countries across Africa are prioritising digital development rather than cyber-security when it is becoming increasingly clear the two need to go hand-in-hand.”

The attack is a wake-up call for Kenya and other African countries, and it is important that they take steps to strengthen their cyber-security defenses.

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