Multiple Kenyan Digital Services Knocked Offline Amid Hack Fears

By  |  July 27, 2023

On Thursday, M-Pesa, the prominent digital payment system run by Kenya’s leading telecoms company Safaricom, went down mysteriously, preventing mobile money transfers and payments to major banks and utilities in Kenya.

Some reports have attributed the issue to a cyber attack orchestrated by a shadowy group, though this remains unconfirmed.

M-Pesa payments and transfers were not available, according to Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd., Absa Bank Kenya Plc, NCBA Group Plc, and Kenya Power Plc.

“We are experiencing a system hitch due to a network breakdown from our service provider,” Kenya Power said in an alert to customers. NCBA told its clients “M-Pesa services are currently unavailable.” Safaricom was not immediately available for comment, reports Bloomberg.

Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa stated earlier this month that the M-Pesa platform handles daily transactions worth roughly KES 90 billion B (~USD 633 M). The mobile money system is the most common mode of digital payments in Kenya and M-Pesa commands a market share of more than 95 percent.

Statement from the authorities regarding the eCitizen cyber attack.

There are reports in the local media that the attack was carried out by hackers going by the name Anonymous Sudan though how that was ascertained remains unclear.

In another development that may not be unrelated, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry declared in a statement on Thursday that a “challenge” with the government’s internet platform prevented it from issuing e-visas.

“Over the past one week, there have been unsuccessful cyber-attack attempts targeting both the government and the private sector,” the Information, Communications and Digital Economy Ministry said in a separate statement.

The ministry claimed that despite the barrage of requests that were made in an effort to clog Kenya’s e-citizen portal, data security and privacy were not jeopardized.

This is a developing story.

Featured Image Credits: The Times

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