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How Chinese hackers attacked Kenyan presidency, NIS | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Chinese hackers are said to have attacked eight Kenyan government agencies between 2019 and 2022.

As reported by Reuters on Wednesday, the hacks constitute a three-year campaign that targeted eight of Kenya’s ministries and government departments, including the presidential office, the National Intelligence Service among others.

“Chinese hackers targeted Kenya’s government in a widespread, years-long series of digital intrusions against key ministries and state institutions, according to three sources, cybersecurity research reports and Reuters’ own analysis of technical data related to the hacking,” are reported by Reuters.

According to documents provided by the analyst, Reuters say that Chinese cyber spies subjected the office of Kenya’s president, its defence, information, health, land and interior ministries, its counter-terrorism centre and other institutions to persistent and prolonged hacking activity.

“The affected government departments did not respond to requests for comment, declined to be interviewed or were unreachable,” Reuters reports.

In early July 2021, the cybersecurity research reports shared by the intelligence analyst in the region detailed how the hackers secretly accessed an email server used by Kenya’s National Intelligence Service (NIS).

However, Reuters reported that it was able to confirm that the victim’s IP address belonged to the NIS.

The incident was also covered in a report from the private defence contractor reviewed by Reuters.

Reuters also reported that it could not determine what information was taken during the hacks or conclusively establish the motive for the attacks. But the defence contractor’s report said the NIS breach was possibly aimed at gleaning information on how Kenya planned to manage its debt payments.

“Kenya is currently feeling the pressure of these debt burdens…as many of the projects financed by Chinese loans are not generating enough income to pay for themselves yet,” the report stated.

A Reuters review of internet logs delineating the Chinese digital espionage activity showed that a server controlled by the Chinese hackers also accessed a shared Kenyan government webmail service more recently from December 2022 until February this year.

Chinese officials however declined to comment on this recent breach, and the Kenyan authorities did not respond to a question about it.


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