Chinese hackers have targeted Kenya’s government in a widespread, years-long series of digital attacks targeting key ministries and state organisations.
According to Reuters’ cybersecurity research reports, the attacks were targeted, at least in part, at obtaining information on the East African country’s debt to Beijing.
China’s foreign ministry stated that it was “not aware” of any such hacking, while China’s embassy in the United Kingdom termed the claims “baseless,” adding that Beijing opposes and combats “cyberattacks and theft in all their forms.”
Similar hacking activity was disclosed by a Kenyan cybersecurity specialist targeting the foreign and finance ministries. Due to the sensitivity of the situation, all three sources requested anonymity.
“Your allegation of hacking attempts by Chinese Government entities is not unique,” Kenya’s presidential office stated, adding that the government had faced “frequent infiltration attempts” from Chinese, American, and European hackers.
“As far as we are concerned, none of the attempts were successful,” he added.
Over the last two decades, China’s influence in Africa has increased dramatically. However, Kenya’s finances, like those of numerous other African countries, are being stressed by the rising cost of servicing external debt, much of which is owed to China.
According to a regional intelligence analyst, the attacks were part of a three-year campaign that targeted eight Kenyan ministries and administrative offices, including the presidential office.
The analyst also gave Reuters with research documents that detailed the date of the attacks, the targets, and some technical facts linked to the penetration of a server used solely by Kenya’s main intelligence agency.
It did not provide additional information or react to follow-up questions.
China’s embassy in the United Kingdom denied any involvement in the Kenya hackings and declined to answer questions regarding the government’s link with BackdoorDiplomacy.