Kenya is one of the countries in Africa under surveillance by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) through installing spyware in devices from top manufacturers such as Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba, Samsung, Maxtor, and IBM
This is according to researchers at Russian-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky who said that 30 countries had been included in this campaign and they include Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China, Syria, and Mali with Iran recoding the highest incidences while Lower incidents include United Kingdom, Mexico, Lebanon, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Algeria, Qatar, and Egypt.
The antivirus company called the unknown hackers as the “equation group” because they love encryption algorithms, obfuscation, and the sophistication exhibited throughout their hacking tools. The company’s research paper (PDF) called the group “one of the most sophisticated” and “advanced” group of hackers they’ve ever seen in the entire world.
“The equation group is probably one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world; and they are the most advanced threat actor we have seen,” read the report.
According to Reuters, the main targets were government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists.
“The United States National Security Agency (NSA) embedded sophisticated spyware deep in the firmware of hard drives manufactured by top manufacturers as part of an international spying campaign which has infected thousands of computers across morethan 30 countries, according to an analysis by
“There were over 500 infections across 42 countries documented in total by the Internet security firm,” it further adds. “The country with the highest recorded incidence of cyber-attack by equation hackers is Iran,” said Kaspersky.
A former NSA employee has since confirmed the report to Reuters adding that the spy program was valued by the USA and was part of a bigger campaign.
Western Digital, Seagate and Micron have denied knowledge of the spying programs, Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment while IBM did not respond to requests for comment.