The downtime experienced on the eCitizen platform prolonged on Thursday evening, July 27, as several other services including eVisa, M-Pesa, and KPLC tokens faced an unexplained outage.
According to ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, the eCitizen platform, which is a hub for various government-offered services was suspended as a corrective measure to prevent hackers who attempted to compromise it.
On Thursday morning, Owalo explained that hackers had attempted to take over the eCitizen platform by bombarding it with multiple data requests. The CS stated that they had managed to defeat the hackers and that no data had been lost or compromised.
"Over the past one week, there have been unsuccessful cyber attacks attempts targeting both the Ggovernment and the private sectors. The e-Citizen Portal is among the targets of these unsuccessful attacks. The attack on the e-Citizen platform was an unsuccessful attempt to overload the system through extraordinary requests, with the intention of clogging it, but our technical teams blocked the source IP address where the guests were emanating from.
For clarity, both the privacy a. security of data were not compromised. The system was not hacked. As a consequence of the attack efforts, however, the system has been experiencing intermittent interruptions," Owalo stated.
However, as of Thursday evening, the eCitizen website was down. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later issued an update that the eVisa application platform was down, due to challenges with the eCitizen platform.
The attempt hack has been attributed to a hacktivists referred to as Anonymous Sudan.
The development came also at a time when Kenya Power’s token purchase system and a number of M-Pesa services suffered an outage.
Both Kenya Power and Safaricom did not explain the source of the technical glitch and there was no confirmation that they are related to the eCitizen challenges.
A statement from Safaricom indicated that M-Pesa was down on both the Safaricom and M-Pesa apps. Customers were asked to make transactions through USSD code *334#.
“M-Pesa services on the M-Pesa and Safaricom apps are currently unavailable. We are working to restore our apps, in the meanwhile, you can make M-PESA transactions through *334#,” the telco said in a statement on Thursday evening.
Leading commercial banks also informed customers of a disruption in mobile money transfers as well as transfers from M-Pesa to the accounts.
“Dear customer, we are experiencing interruption on M-Pesa services( affecting Bank to wallet and wallet-to-bank). You may transact through our other services,” one bank indicated to its customers.