A Cyber Attack has been launched against Kenya that has affected key government online platforms for almost a week. The known information about the attack is limited, but it is believed to be a politically motivated attack by a group called Anonymous Sudan. However, it is known that some private companies have also been affected.
It has been confirmed that there was a Cyber Attack on the eCitizen portal used in Kenya by the public to access over 5000 different government services. This has come to light after people have been complaining for several days that they have been having difficulties accessing services on the eCitizen portal. These services include passport applications and renewals, issuing e-visas for visiting other countries, issuing driving licenses, identification cards and health records.
The effect on daily life
The knock-on effect of this has caused disruption to train booking systems and payment systems for some electricity providers. The government push for Kenyan citizens to use more online government services, combined with the widespread adoption of mobile payments, has meant that many Kenyans have felt the impact of this attack.
Mobile money banking services have also been affected, limiting business for many companies as it was made difficult to make payments at shops, on public transport, hotels and many other places. This is due to the mobile money service M-Pesa being made unavailable. It is currently unknown whether this was part of the same attack as the service operator is yet to confirm.
Do we know who is responsible?
The attack is reported to have come from a group calling themselves Anonymous Sudan.
The group’s aim is to portray itself as a group of Sudanese cyber warriors who will destroy anyone who tries to interfere with the internal affairs of Sudan. The group is believed to have links with Russia and the Russian Cyber gang known as Killnet. However, the group denies having links to the infamous hacking group, Anonymous. Anonymous Sudan has been causing disruption since it emerged in January 2023 however the attacks seemed simple, until now.
The attack was carried out mostly by a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDOS), a well-known attack where the network is flooded with an overwhelming amount of traffic for the servers which causes disruption and sometimes downtime. The overwhelming amount of requests has slowed down the system incredibly and caused many users to be unable to access it at all.
What was the impact on people’s data?
The impact of this attack was luckily relatively small for a successful attack of this scale.
Whilst there was a period of widespread disruption to many critical services it is currently understood that no data was leaked and the government have since managed to block the source of the attack, although there are still intermittent interruptions to the operating speed of certain online government systems.
Kenya is about as well prepared as any government in Africa to respond to the attack. It has a well-developed Cyber committee that met with the private sector on Friday to discuss issues about Cyber Security, however, it is unknown if this was pre-planned or triggered by the attack.
You may be wondering why this matters to you?
Unless you do business with a Kenyan company or are going to be travelling there, this attack will have little to no effect on you. However, it is an important attack to learn from.
Officials have reported that despite the countries’ efforts the focus was too heavily weighted toward digital transformation rather than Cyber Security. When this happens and there is a digital dependency, a successful attack can cause even more problems.
See how we can make Cyber Security a critical part of your business operation by getting in touch.