The International Criminal Police Organization is raising concern that a little known town in the outskirts of Nairobi, Juja, is quickly becoming a global hub for cybercrime activities.
The report that was released by Interpol says that a huge number of cyber attacks have been launched from Juja, targeting both Kenyan and the International institutions. This includes phishing, ransomware, malware, identity thefts and scams that have resulted in loss of millions of dollars from individuals and corporations all around the world.
The claims have been corroborated by major Internet Service Providers in Kenya who have previously flagged unusual traffic from Juja, although they are unable to tell what the traffic is about due to the strong encryption that is being used. It is said that the Directorate of Criminal Investigation has been unable to crack the cybercrime rings as the criminals are way much ahead of the police, and attempts to crack the network have been unsuccessful.
Police also claim that the new gang of cybercriminals is now smarter than the previous ones which would parade their trophies on Instagram once they had made a successful heist. “Today’s cyber criminal in Juja does not even drive, lives in a one bed-roomed house where there is water shortage and is always late on rent payment. You will see them walking around in shorts and flip flops and think they have run out of options in life, but unknown to you the same person owns a cruise ship in the Maldives. They have learnt the art of economic camouflage.”
The rise in this form of crime in Juja has been attributed to high concentration of idle minds in the University town that is known for many other things including a ready market for some illegal goods. With so many young university students who are skilled but idle due to closure of schools and lack of alternative activities. The town is also becoming a magnet for businesses that need very skilled talents because they are readily available. One of the biggest Cloud computing companies in Africa, Truehost Cloud, runs its technical support office from Juja.
Residents of Juja seem unperturbed by this new reputation that the town is gaining, as long as they are not the objects of the crimes. This also seems to be the government position and the Kenya Revenue Authority has been looking for ways to tax the immense wealth that is held overseas by these people.