Chinese Hackers Attack Kenyan Government to Gain Details About Debt to China

Chinese Hackers Attack Kenyan Government to Gain Details About Debt to China

  • Chinese hackers are said to have breached Kenya’s sensitive information to gain insight into Chinese loans
  • The hackers reportedly targeted ministries, agencies, and the presidency for many years
  • Experts say the hack is a pointer to the danger of Chinese loans, especially to countries struggling with repayment

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According to reports, cyber spying by Chinese hackers have targeted the Kenyan government to gain access to critical information on the country’s debt to the Asian country.

The operation happened over many years, exposing the weakness of Kenya’s cybersecurity infrastructure and raising concerns about China’s increasing influence in Africa.

Chinese loans, Hackers, Kenya
Chinese President XI Jinping. Credit: Vasily Pindyurin
Source: Getty Images

China is reportedly trying to use spy means to get countries to repay loans

The hacking campaign shows China’s willingness to use espionage powers to protect its economic and strategic interests overseas.

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According to Reuters, the hack highlights the risks associated with countries dependent on Chinese loans, especially as debt burdens mount and financial difficulties become more apparent.

Kenya had utilised over $9 billion in Chinese loans to fund critical infrastructure projects, including railways, ports, and highways.

The cost of servicing external debts began to balloon, exposing the strain on Kenya’s finances.

The dangerous situation caught the attention of Chinese hackers, who launched a complex hacking campaign that targeted eight ministries and government departments, including the presidential office.

Cybersecurity experts reveal that the attacks meant extracting information on the country’s debt situation.

By entering sensitive government networks, the hackers sought to obtain insights into Kenya’s debt repayment plan and protect China’s enormous investment in the East African region.

Hackers target important sectors, and the presidency

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The hackers breached the country’s National Intelligence Service email server, which raised concerns about the possible exposure of confidential information regarding the country’s security architecture.

Reports say a Chinese hacking group, BackDiplomacy, is notorious for promoting Chinese diplomatic objectives via cyber intrusions.

Kenya maintains that none of the attacks were successful.

The recent development exposes the challenges faced by countries such as Nigeria and other African countries as China’s impact rapidly grows via extensive lending and infrastructure projects.

Experts say the attack serves as a wake-up call to governments on the continent to prioritise cybersecurity as a critical part of their national security strategy. It highlights the need for robust defence mechanisms to protect essential information from hostile actors.

List of African countries with the highest debt to China, amount and what the debts were used for reported that Macau is the only country in the world that is debt-free, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Business tough in China as national security trumps all

The world’s greatest economies rank among the 20 countries with the highest external debts.

According to a Daily Trust report, they are the US, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and China.


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