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Government signs agreement with Google after attacks on eCitizen and other websites

President William Ruto has turned to Alphabet’s flagship Google to strengthen its digital infrastructure almost a year after suffering devastating hacking attacks on critical IT infrastructure.

As part of his state visit to the United States on Thursday, the president met with Google leaders who agreed to launch a Cybersecurity operations platform.

The platform aims to strengthen the infrastructure against attacks by hackers and cybercriminals.

“The United States, Kenya and Google announced a joint effort to help launch a cybersecurity operations platform to improve the security of Kenya’s digital infrastructure, including an initial pilot project to improve the resilience of Kenya’s e-government services. “Google also highlighted solutions for incident response and resilience-building measures,” the fact sheet reads in part.

Google offices in the US where the main operations are carried out.

Photo

Napa Valley

The White House further announced that Microsoft, which will establish a data center in Ol Karia, has agreed to create a new program aimed at upskilling Kenyans through free online certifications.

The program is expected to help Kenya strengthen its resilience against evolving cyber threats and support AI training and research.

“In collaboration with the Government of Kenya and the University of Nairobi, Cisco launched its Cybersecurity Training and Expertise Center in Kenya in April 2024, the first on the African continent,” the statement added.

“The Center supports East Africa’s digital ecosystem and provides critical cybersecurity skills to future technology leaders.”

In July last year, a group of Sudanese hackers claimed responsibility for taking down several Kenyan websites, including key government sites such as eCitizen.

Government websites offering services to Kenyans such as eCitizen and NTSA experienced downtime for several days.

This, in turn, affected services such as applications and renewal of Driver’s Licenses, birth certificates, business registrations, marriage certificates, passports and certificates of good conduct, among others.

The group claimed it was targeting the Kenyan government for meddling in the conflict that erupted in the nation. The war still continues.

Subsequently, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Eliud Owalo, assured that no data had been compromised.

“We have a challenge on the e-citizen platform because of that attack, but we are addressing it. We will ensure that it is fully functional later today,” Owalo said at the time.

ICT CS Eliud Owalo appearing before a parliamentary committee on April 16, 2024

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Kenya Parliament

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