In response to a recent Reuters report claiming that Kenya had fallen victim to Chinese cyberattacks for a period of three years, the Kenyan government has denied the allegations.
Interior Permanent Secretary Raymond Omollo released a statement on Thursday evening, stating that the claims made in the article lacked authoritative proof from both Kenyan and Chinese officials.
Omollo emphasized, “In the absence of the above, the alleged motive behind the said attacks cannot be subsequently established beyond doubt.”
The Reuters report asserted that the cyberattacks targeted eight Kenyan ministries and government departments, including the office of the president and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
It also suggested that the motive behind the attacks was to gain information on Kenya’s debts to China as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Furthermore, the report warned that additional compromises may occur as China seeks to understand Kenya’s repayment strategies. It cited a research report by a defense contractor from July 2021.
However, Omollo dismissed the report as an intentional effort to create panic and mistrust.
He stated, “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.”
The Chinese Embassy in Nairobi also refuted the claims made in the report, considering them an attempt to create discord between Kenya and China.
In a statement, the embassy described the report as “groundless, far-fetched, and sheer nonsense.”
It highlighted that China, like other nations, is a victim of cyber attacks and firmly opposes and combats cyber theft.
The embassy emphasized that tracing the source of cyberattacks is a complex technical matter.
Omollo questioned the motive behind China hacking systems that it had installed for the Kenyan government.
He noted, “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.”
Acknowledging the formative state of Kenya’s cybersecurity infrastructure and the inherent high-risk exposure to cyber threats, Omollo assured the public that the government would continuously enhance the security and resilience of all Critical Information Infrastructure Systems (CIIS).
This commitment would be carried out through the implementation of necessary laws, regulations, and investments in stronger cybersecurity systems.