Detectives link Ugandan Ronnie Nsale to IEBC hacking

Police are holding a Ugandan on suspicion of attempting to hack into the electoral agency’s systems and working with the Islamic State group.

Mr Ronnie Nsale is also being investigated over hacking into databases of banks, mobile phone companies and money transfer service providers.

He was arrested on Friday and after spending the weekend in cells, police took him to court on Monday and asked for more time to complete investigations into claims that he stole money from Safaricom and several banks.

Police were allowed to detain him for three days. They said it was while in custody that the terrorism angle was discovered.

Mr Nsale was taken to court for the second time Thursday. The court allowed anti-terrorism detectives to hold him for 15 days.

He was in court with Mr Morgan Kamande, who is also being investigated for links to terrorist groups.

Safaricom issued a statement saying one of its customers lost Sh266,000 “through an unauthorised SIM Swap”.

“However, proactive action saw him refunded immediately,” the statement said.

The company added that it foiled an elaborate cybercrime fraud attempt to hack into its systems.

According to the statement, Safaricom’s risk management unit detected the intrusion and immediately escalated it to security agencies.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said the company maintains a state-of-the-art information security system, which easily triggers an alarm if a breach is detected.

“This matter is being treated with the seriousness it deserves with the suspects due to be arraigned for hacking and fraud. I wish to assure our customers that their data is safe and we have no evidence of any money being removed from the system,” Mr Collymore said.

He said the issue was sensitive and that details would be provided at a later date “to avoid jeopardising the ongoing investigations”.

But it is the issue of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the IS, the terrorist group that declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, that has escalated the importance of the investigation.

An officer close to the investigation told the Nation that the two men were found with Internet Protocols (IPs) of IEBC and Safaricom servers as well as those of several banks.

Investigators said Mr Nsale’s other associates were in contact with wanted IS agents in and outside Kenya.

The prosecution said the two were being investigated for hacking into computer systems of “vital and key installations, agencies and a telecommunication service provider”.

The court was told that the hacking resulted to a loss of unspecified “huge amount of monies”.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation 

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