Why vot­ers may never know if IEBC was hacked

PE­TI­TION IT ex­perts the Supreme Court sent in to ind the truth re­port that polls body did not of­fer ac­cess as di­rected by judges

Business Daily (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - Brian Wa­suna bwa­suna@ke.na­tion­media.com

The In­de­pen­dent and Elec­toral Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) did not grant Supreme Court-ap­pointed in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) ex­perts ac­cess to its servers and the elec­tion man­age­ment sys­tem, leav­ing claims hack­ing played a role in the out­come of the Au­gust 8 elec­tion in limbo.

The Supreme Court on Mon­day or­dered the IEBC to grant pres­i­den­tial elec­tion can­di­dates Raila Odinga and Uhuru Keny­atta ac­cess to the polls body’s servers for pur­poses of scru­tiny in the pres­ence of IT


Chief Jus­tice David Maraga is­sued the or­ders fol­low­ing claims by Mr Odinga, who has chal­lenged Mr Keny­atta’s dec­la­ra­tion as win­ner, that the IEBC’S data­base and servers were hacked

to en­sure his ri­val won the elec­tion.

Mr Odinga also claimed that some IEBC em­ploy­ees were in­volved in unau­tho­rised ac­cess of the polls body’s elec­tronic sys­tems and that they were part of a scheme to rig Mr Keny­atta into of­fice.

Court-ap­pointed IT ex­perts say in a re­port sub­mit­ted to the court on Tues­day evening that the IEBC had re­fused to grant ac­cess to its in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal fire­wall con­fig­u­ra­tions, log in trails for the polls body’s servers and the Kenya In­te­grated Elec­tion Man­age­ment Sys­tem (KIEMS) kits’ data­base man­age­ment sys­tems.

The ex­perts — Eli­jah Omwenga and Jose Sevilla — along­side Ju­di­ciary ICT em­ployee Janet Kadenyi say in the re­port that the IEBC de­clined to of­fer ac­cess to the in­ter­nal fire­wall con­fig­u­ra­tion. The Supreme Court had or­dered ac­cess to the in­ter­nal fire­wall con­fig­u­ra­tion with­out dis­clo­sure of the soft­ware ver­sion used.

The IEBC ar­gued that the move would com­pro­mise the se­cu­rity of its sys­tems, the ex­perts say in their re­port.

The au­dit was widely ex­pected to shed light on whether unau­tho­rised peo­ple had ac­cess to the IEBC’S sys­tems and whether there was foul play on elec­tion day and there­after.

“The IEBC was to demon­strate that the logs came from IEBC servers by al­low­ing all par­ties to have read-only ac­cess and to copy the logs. Al­ter­na­tively, the IEBC could ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion in the pres­ence of the pe­ti­tion­ers and pro­vide copies as and when re­quested,” say the ex­perts.

Live ac­cess, they say, was pro­vided on Au­gust 29, 2017 at about 3.15 p.m. with­out the abil­ity to ac­cess the logs or even view them, mak­ing them to con­clude that the polls body did not grant the re­quest.

The ex­perts say that the

polls body said it would have pro­vided deeper ac­cess to its sys­tems if given more time.

The re­port was on Tues­day evening for­warded to the Supreme Court judges, who are ex­pected to take it into con­sid­er­a­tion while pre­par­ing a judg­ment on Mr Odinga’s pe­ti­tion.

Mr Keny­atta and the IEBC have de­nied any foul play dur­ing the Au­gust 8 polls in­sist­ing that Mr Odinga had not pro­vided any con­crete ev­i­dence of rig­ging.

The court was also ex­pected to make pub­lic a sep­a­rate re­port de­tail­ing the va­lid­ity of re­sults trans­mis­sion forms 34A and 34B.

Mr Odinga claimed in his pe­ti­tion that some of the forms lacked key se­cu­rity fea­tures, cast­ing doubt on their va­lid­ity.

But the IEBC said the se­cu­rity fea­tures com­plained of were not made manda­tory by law.


SCRU­TINY Mr Wa­fula Che­bukati, IEBC chair­man


MAK­ING THE CASE Raila Odinga’s lawyers Otiende Amollo (left) and James Orengo dur­ing the pe­ti­tion hear­ing at the Supreme Court.

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