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Kenya: Reuters report on Chinese hackers is sponsored propaganda

Kenya has termed a news article published by Reuters (https://reuters.com/) under the headline “Exclusive: Chinese hackers attacked Kenyan government as debt strains grew” as sponsored propaganda.

Through a statement on Thursday, the Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Dr Raymond Omollo said the story, which was first posted on May 23, 2023, and updated on May 24, 2023, features serious claims about a series of cyber-attacks and infiltration of critical and sensitive systems belonging to and operated by, the Government of Kenya.

Channel 1

“It 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 statement read in part.

Dr Omollo said that having carefully interrogated the claims, the allegations presented in the article have not been subjected to authoritative proof of existence by the relevant persons from both the Kenyan and the Chinese governments.

“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 averred.

In addition, he said that 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.

The PS further noted that Kenya is also enhancing its threat detection and mitigation systems and capacities through the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee (NC4) as well as also investing in a stronger and better coordinated cyber security regime.

In conclusion, the PS stated that 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. Therefore, attempted cyber-attacks are 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.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Nairobi has also dismissed reports alleging that a group of Chinese hackers attacked networks belonging to the Kenyan government terming them mere falsehoods.

While vehemently refuting the claims, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya on Wednesday described the latest claims as “groundless, far-fetched and sheer nonsense,” for the reason that those who have made the allegations are yet to corroborate them.

“It is a highly sensitive political issue to pin the label of cyber-attack to a certain government without solid evidence,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson echoed the PS sentiments that hacking is a common threat to all countries and China is also a victim of cyber-attack but was quick to point out that China has no business infiltrating either Kenyan or any other government’s systems.

“China consistently and firmly opposes and combats cyber-attacks and cyber theft in all forms. Tracing the source of cyber-attacks is a complex technical issue,” the spokesperson said in a statement

The spokesperson maintains that “China and Kenya are good friends, good partners, and good brothers,” and efforts should not be made to drive a wedge between the two countries.

“The relevant media should adopt a professional and responsible attitude and underscore the importance to have enough evidence when conducting reports, rather than make groundless assumptions and accusations,” concluded the embassy spokesperson.

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