Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have for long operated a Twitter account that has been instrumental in communicating important information to the citizenry and the world. That account has since been hacked by someone claiming to be from notorious hacker group Anonymous. Alongside KDF’s Twitter account, former spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir’s Twitter account also suffered the same fate. Major Chirchir has for long been the mouthpiece of Kenya’s military since he was the spokesperson when Kenya started an operation to flush out members of dreaded terror group Al-Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia in October 2011.
— Kenya Defence Forces (@kdfinfo) July 20, 2014
— Anon_0x03 #Anonymous (@Anon_0x03) July 20, 2014
The National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND)’s website was not spared either as it has not only been hacked into but also defaced. Navigating to netfund.go.ke results in nothing but a huge banner put up by the hackers with their traditional soundtrack playing in the background. NETFUND is a body charged with resource mobilization and availing those resources for environmental management in Kenya and is under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. It is not clear what the motivation behind the cyber attack on the NETFUND website is other than being a hacker’s usual “feel good” moment and making a statement in the best way known to them.
The motivation behind the hacking of the two Twitter accounts also remains unclear though it comes at a time when Kenya is grappling with increased insecurity thanks to many internal factors and a prolonged war with terrorist group Al-Shabaab and targeting Kenya’s topmost security apparatus will not go unnoticed.
While we are in no position to authoritatively confirm whether indeed the Twitter accounts were compromised by members of the dreaded hactivist group, it is not the first time that the group has come out to claim responsibility for incidences of this nature. Last year it caused panic when it hacked the Twitter account of the Associated Press and posted that the White House had been attacked and that US President Obama had been injured in the twin explosions that rocked his official residence and office. Anonymous is well known for hacking websites and social media accounts run by government agencies, senior government officials and various corporates. Most recently, Anonymous has been involved in #OpSaveGaza, an online campaign against Israel’s offensive on the Gaza strip. This has resulted in Israel’s defence, education and justice departments and even the Tel Aviv Police Department’s website being hacked into in the last few days alone. Other Israeli government websites, websites for NGOs and even private businesses have all suffered the same fate.
For Kenya, this is not the first time that government websites are being targeted by hackers. Back in 2012, Indonesian hacker direxer managed to hack the server that used to host over 100 government websites and took them all offline. Recently, in March, the Ministry of Transport’s website was hacked by one “>Ayyikliz Team.
The Kenya Defence Forces are yet to issue any statement on the incident and as at the time of writing this, the hacker(s) appear(s) to be still in control of the said Twitter accounts.