by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI
(Xinhua) -- Kenya has been troubled by
hackers in recent years as the governance goes digital.
key websites, which serve millions of Kenyans every day since the
east African nation has digitized most of its services, had been
defaced by an international hackers’ group on Monday.
The group temporarily took over the websites and displayed their
logo on it.
Government information and communication technology (ICT) experts
later regained control of the sites.
Among sites affected were those of the Judicial Service
Commission, Department for Immigration, the Ministry of Petroleum
According to the ICT Authority, 18 websites were affected during
the attack, disrupting crucial services.
The Monday cyber-attack came months after another group defaced
about 100 government websites.
Kenya has been on the crosshair of international hackers’ groups
in the past years, with the cybercriminals targeting sites of
private companies like banks and saccos, key personalities and
And to show their brazenness, the hackers, some working with
locals, attacked the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) websites
and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Twitter page.
On Monday, government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said that all the
websites attacked were hosted on a single server.
He, however, assured that crucial information in the affected
websites was safe since they were hosted in "secure government
private network that has requisite security."
Kenya is being attacked at a time when the government is moving
all its services online to enhance efficiency and fight corruption.
Among government services Kenyans access online include passport
application, application and renewal of driving licenses and filing
of tax returns.
These services have been integrated with mobile payment systems
making them fully digital.
Kenyan firms lost 3 billion dollars (about 300 million U.S.
dollars) to cybercriminals last year, up from 210 million dollars in
2017, according to a recent report by Serianu, a firm that monitors
Serianu chief executive William Makatiani said the amount
included direct money lost in attacks or ransom paid to free up
A CA report for the last quarter of 2018 reveals that there was
an increase in the number of cyber threats in Kenya, with attacks
standing at over 10.2 million in the three months, compared to 3.8
million in the previous quarter.
Kenya’s total number of active internet subscriptions stood at 46
million at the end of 2018, up from 33 million a year earlier,
pointing to increased usage and reliance on the internet to transact
business in the east African nation.
Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solutions noted that the hackers
hitting the government websites may be doing it for fun.
"These are people whose major aim is to show how vulnerable their
victims are since they are not after money. Once they hack the
website, they post their messages to publicize themselves announcing
their presence, which is what matter to them," he said.
Focus on Africa: Kenya: Home-grown hackers have looted millions