Interior PS dismisses reports alleging infiltration of Kenyan govt systems by Chinese hackers
The article alleging cyber-attack on Kenya’s critical and sensitive systems is sponsored propaganda aimed at provoking a particular response from the Government of Kenya - Interior Ministry has said.
Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Raymond Omollo on Thursday dismissed the news article published by Reuters under the headline “Exclusive: Chinese hackers attacked Kenyan government as debt strains grew” saying it was a choreographed and concerted attack against Kenya’s sovereignty.
“The article, considering its choice of the so-called “cyber-security experts” interviewed, is aimed at provoking a particular response from the Government of Kenya,” he said.
PS Omollo said the bulk of the critical networking infrastructure deployed by the Government of Kenya is sourced from China, and wondered why China would engage third-party hackers to infiltrate a system they installed.
"The bulk of the critical networking infrastructure deployed by the Government of Kenya is sourced from the People’s Republic of China. It is reasonable, therefore, to contemplate that if the country of origin desired to infiltrate the same systems it has helped install, it would unlikely engage third-party hackers," he said.
He added that the allegations had not been subjected to authoritative proof of existence by the relevant persons from both governments, and the alleged motive behind the said attacks cannot be subsequently established beyond doubt.
“The deliberate stoking of panic and mistrust with an established vendor of sensitive infrastructure hints at geopolitical and global rivalries for markets for niche equipment and attendant services and leverages,” he added.
The story, which was first posted on May 23 and updated on May 24, features serious claims about a series of cyber-attacks and infiltration of critical and sensitive systems belonging to and operated by the Kenyan government.
The article further insinuates that the attacks were carried out under the aegis of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, which is an act tantamount to deliberate economic espionage against Kenya.
“The article should be viewed as sponsored propaganda. The wide circulation and the alacrity for its attribution by other foreign media with well-known inclinations further hint at a choreographed and concerted attack against Kenya’s sovereignty,” he said.
Omollo said just like in many other countries across the globe, Kenya’s cybersecurity infrastructure is formative, and this portends inherent high-risk exposure to cyber threats, adding that such attempted cyber-attacks were not unordinary occurrences.
“The Government and its agencies are alive to this reality, and the necessary precautions that are under constant review to match the dynamic nature of the threats landscape have been deployed,” he said.
To prevent such attacks, Kenya will continue to strengthen the security and resilience of all its Critical Information Infrastructure Systems (CIIS).
PS Omollo said this was being done through the national security policy, cybersecurity laws including the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act and The Data Protection Act of 2019, as well as other regulations.
Kenya is also enhancing its threat detection and mitigation systems and capacities.
“Through the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee (NC4), the Government is also investing in a stronger and better coordinated cyber security regime,” the PS added.