CYBER SECURITYNews

Suspected Chinese hackers step up attacks on Kenyan government agencies


Kenyan government agencies were among the organisations targeted by suspected Chinese hackers. This is according to a new report released by cybersecurity intelligence company, Recorded Future.

The cyberattacks by the group known as RedJulliett were observed between November 2023 and April 2024.

The report released on Monday notes that despite the attacks targeting Taiwan, over 24 government organisations across different countries were also targeted including Kenya and Rwanda. It also hacked into websites of religious organizations in Hong Kong and South Korea, a U.S university and a Djiboutian university. The report did not identify the organizations.

Recorded Future said RedJuliett accessed the servers of those places via a vulnerability in their SoftEther enterprise virtual private network (VPN) software, an open-source VPN that allows remote connections to an organization’s networks.

In addition to targeting vulnerabilities in internet-facing devices, RedJuliett also used structured query language (SQL) injection and directory traversal exploits against web and SQL applications. 

The hackers targeted organizations, particularly those in sectors such as government, education, technology and diplomacy.

It was unclear if RedJuliett managed to break into those organizations: Recorded Future however said it only observed the attempts to identify vulnerabilities in their networks.

This is not the first time Chinese hackers have launched an attack in Kenya. In May this year, a report by Reuters revealed how Chinese hackers targeted Kenya’s government to try to gain information on debt the country owes China. Among the institutions targeted by the attackers included the finance ministry, the president’s office, spy agency and others.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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