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Anonymous Sudan continues ongoing cyber-attack

ecitizen

The cyber-attack launched by the group calling itself Anonymous Sudan on Kenya’s eCitizen platform has entered its seventh day, causing significant disruptions to key government services and private companies. As of now, eCitizen remains inaccessible, affecting over 5,000 government services, including passport applications, visa processing, and driver’s license issuance.

The impact of the attack has been far-reaching, with disruptions also reported in train-booking systems, electricity payments, and mobile-money banking services. The popular mobile-money service M-Pesa, operated by Safaricom, experienced difficulties, affecting payments at shops, public transport vehicles, hotels, and other platforms.

The Kenyan government confirmed the cyber-attack and acknowledged that Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for the malicious act. The group, which has been increasingly active since January, is believed to have affiliations with Russia, particularly with the pro-Russian hacking group Killnet. However, the group denies any direct connection to the well-known international hacktivist collective – Anonymous.

Anonymous Sudan stated that the attack on Kenya was in response to the country’s alleged meddling in Sudanese affairs and doubting the sovereignty of the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government has rejected Kenyan President William Ruto’s attempts to mediate in the conflict between the Sudanese military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), accusing him of lacking neutrality.

The government assured the public that no data has been accessed or lost during the cyber-attack, despite Anonymous Sudan’s claims of stealing passport data. Information, Communication, and Digital Economy Minister Eliud Owalo declared that the source of the attack had been blocked. However, intermittent interruptions persist, impacting the speed and access of services on the eCitizen portal.

Kenya has been advocating for the use of online government services, which, coupled with the widespread adoption of mobile money payments, has led to a considerable impact on the nation’s population. Approximately 76% of Kenyans utilize mobile money, and 67% rely on mobile internet services.

The cyber-attack on the eCitizen platform has raised concerns over Kenya’s cyber-security preparedness. Cyber-security experts have pointed out that while Kenya ranks relatively high on the UN ITU’s Cybersecurity Commitment Index, the incident highlights the dangers of dependence on digital technology without adequate cybersecurity measures.

The government and private sector players held a meeting to discuss cyber-security concerns, but it remains uncertain if this was planned before the attack or was a direct response to the ongoing situation.

As Anonymous Sudan’s cyber-attacks continue, the Kenyan government and relevant authorities are working tirelessly to restore services and bolster their cyber defenses. The situation is being closely monitored, and the public is advised to remain vigilant and patient during this challenging time.

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