This is how Kenyan banks, government parastatals lose cash to a ring of hackers

The hackers use tools such as key loggers, Remote Access Tools (RATs) including GoToMyPc, Blackshades, Progdata and malware which they install into a PC on the institution's network.

 

Records obtained by detectives in a raid show that institutions lost Sh17 billion in 2016 and another Sh14 billion in 2015. This came to the fore after a multi-agency team arrested at least 11 suspects in a series of ambush operations in Nairobi on Thursday.

Kenya Revenue Authority, several blue-chip banks, government parastatals and supermarket chain are some of the institutions penetrated by an international cybercrime syndicate that took off with hundreds of millions of shillings.

Among the apprehended, includes a former police officer who worked with Kenya’s Crime Prevention Unit - cybercrime unit, a former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) official, who once served at the ICT department and two American citizens who are now among 16 suspects in police custody.

The 19 suspects are set to face transnational crimes related charges, including cybercrime and drug trafficking.

Detectives in Nairobi have blamed the trend on technological advancement, which has made Kenya a soft target by cyber criminals.

Government targeted

The government institutions targeted include Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Saccos and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The criminals hacked the systems of the institutions in the period stealing data and money undetected.

The suspects, the police in Nairobi, said, are in links in US, Moldova, Belgium and France. Investigations show they conspire with employees of the targeted institutions who provide them with access to the networks remotely using Remote Access Tools (RATS) and manipulate records in the computer system.

They use other tools such as key loggers, Remote Access Tools (RATs) such as GoToMyPc, Blackshades, Progdata and malware which they install into a PC on the institution's network.

KRA officials on Wednesday evening demonstrated to the press, how one of their former employees planted a hacking software in one of their crucial system which was sending highly classified and crucial data to his computer system.

Malware

The former employee, the taxman said, had formed an international ring that installed malware into the system that allowed them take data from the institution's system hence steal money. This prompted an operation that saw the suspects being nabbed from their residences in Kilimani area.

Among those in custody is former police officer Calvin Otieno who had been working with the DCI's cybercrime unit, the former KRA employee and two US citizens.

Head of Special Crimes Prevention Unit Noah Katumo said they seized an AK47 rifle and drugs from the suspects' residences. The 19 are set to appear before the court of law once concrete evidence is levelled.

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