MFA introduces visa-on-arrival after e-Citizen platform breach

NAIROBI, Kenya July 27 – Kenya on Thursday made the decision to grant visas to foreign travelers upon their arrival, in response to a hacking attempt on the country’s e-Citizen portal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued an advisory to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations in Kenya, acknowledging the existing challenge with the government e-Citizen platform.

Furthermore, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei advised all airlines to allow foreign travelers destined for Kenya to board flights without prior visa requirements.

“The Ministry avails itself of this opportunity to renew to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations the assurance of its highest consideration,” Sing’oei said.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo confirmed that the government’s e-citizen platform had reportedly suffered a cyberattack, disrupting its operations.

He disclosed that the hackers, known as “Anonymous Sudan,” were responsible for the attack.

Fortunately, according to Owalo, the hackers’ attempt did not result in any unauthorized access to or loss of data from the platform.

“To me, this is not strange because the cyber attack is predominant across the world but there was an attack and we are already addressing that,” he said.

According to Owalo, the hackers tried jamming the system by making more than ordinary requests into the system whose goal was to slow it down.

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Owalo however stressed that the attack will not in any way derail the government’s ongoing efforts to digitize its services.

He stated that appropriate measures were being implemented to address the situation and prevent potential future attacks by hackers.

“We are putting in place an elaborate risk mitigation framework for purposes of sustainable digitization,” he said.

Owalo acknowledged that the government had anticipated such attacks, and this was a significant factor that prompted the establishment of the Office of the Data Commission.

“We have been proactive in that space and besides the Data Commission office we have constituted a multifaceted team within the government whose mandate is to ensure that they are constantly monitoring the trends in cybersecurity,” he said.

With over 5,000 government services from various ministries, county governments, and agencies, the eCitizen platform serves as a comprehensive one-stop shop.

The primary objective of the platform is to simplify and digitize government services, ensuring greater accessibility and convenience for users.

Utilizing technology, the eCitizen platform strives to improve efficiency, transparency, and user experience when interacting with government services, ultimately benefiting the people of Kenya.

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