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What We Know So Far On The KFC Kenya ‘Hack’

The person or people involved in defacing KFC Kenya display screens are most probably Turkish.

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BY STEVE WILLIAMS

On May 5th, there were several media reports indicating that KFC Kenya display screens had been hacked. There were several photos of the defaced display screens showing the image of the infamous Hamas military wing spokesperson “Abu Obaida” alongside the message “Hacked by Mutarrif Hamas Islamic Force”

The main message on the defaced screen included vulgar anti-Israel messages alongside messages that could be perceived as sympathetic to the plight of Gazans. I decided to do a little dig-up to see what I could unearth.

First of all, while technically it was a “hack”, the correct term for such actions is website defacement. This involves malicious (and sometimes genuine) actors taking control of a website and altering its content for various purposes which may include activism and vandalism. These actions may be used to further whatever the hijacker intended. Sometimes genuine white hat hackers may do so to test the strength of their system.

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The perceived attacker left an Instagram account in their message and I decided to snoop around. The Instagram the attacker left behind was “mutarrifdefacer” The account was unfortunately private and therefore couldn’t be publicly viewed.

However, there were some other links on the profile of the Instagram account. The first link led to the perceived attacker’s personal website which was in Turkish.

This means the person or people involved in defacing KFC Kenya display screens are most probably Turkish.

Turkey is a country that has a substantial Muslim population and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been openly hostile to Israel. Turkey, despite its membership in NATO, has also been hosting a Hamas delegation in the country and Erdogan openly stated that he supports “Hamas” and he recently hosted senior Hamas leaders in Istanbul, Turkey. Therefore it is plausible that the Palestinian Islamist group “Hamas” enjoys radical support in the country.

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The second link is linked to the attacker’s Telegram account. A cursory glance at the account shows the account celebrating its “triumph”. Older posts show sympathetic promotion of key Islamist figures like Osama Bin Laden who President Obama’s administration killed for his role in the 9/11 bombings in New York, USA.

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Some older posts also show group members threatening Israel by posting what appears to be rocket launchers in Turkish language. The group also shares what appears to be a Hamas propaganda channel. The attacker also appears to run a Twitter (or X) account which is in direct violation of X’s Terms of Service which prohibit the promotion of  “Violent & hateful entities”

Kenya Insights contacted the administrator of the Telegram Channel for further clarification but our calls and messages went unanswered.

Kenya has taken a proactive stance in the Israel-Palestine conflict preferring peace through a two-state solution and recognizes both Israel and Palestine.

However, Kenya enjoys a strong and stable relationship with Israel collaborating in areas such as agriculture, weaponry, and intelligence which may lead to it being targeted by anti-Israel agitators who feel that Kenya is not doing enough. Despite that, there are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

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