Nairobi News


Loopholes hackers use to defraud, blackmail unsuspecting users

By BONIFACE NYAGA November 11th, 2016 3 min read

From leaking sex tape, government documents to stealing billions, hackers are wreaking havoc.

Reports of online blackmail and leaked sex tapes are becoming common in today’s digital world. Prominent people like Lil Wayne, DJ Crème de la Crème, Chella Yegon and Meagan Good have all fallen prey to the hacker.

In this digital world no one is safe, hackers can gain access into any device and bring you down with one click. From black mail rackets, to million-dollar fraud; hackers are having a field day while gullible Kenyans pay the price.

We spoke to a cyber security expert Philip Ogola who gave us shocking revelations.

Mr Ogola is the founder of Digital Humanitarian. The former Red Cross employee pioneered the digital transformation of the organization and developed digital tools that are still being used to date to aid disaster management.

He says: “Once I have your phone number and your email I can access anything you have in your machine. Most companies have elaborate security for their website, but they forget their staff and that is how hackers are accessing their data and stealing billions.”


According to Mr Ogola, hackers are targeting employees of banks and other high profile companies. An example is one lady who works for a bank who, Mr Ogola says,  is paying a dear price for her naivety.

The perpetrator followed her on IG, because she would post photos while at work. He befriended her, they dated and he even took her on expensive trips.

When the time was right, he gave her with a gold plated flash disk that had a bug inside it. Money was stolen from the bank she works in and it was all traced to her, yet she had no idea. Today that lady is in jail facing charges of being an accomplice.

“Our online personas betray us, we put all our information online. We do not take simple precautions like installing firewalls or buying original software. There are tools that can reap all the information from your phone even when it has crushed,” says Mr Ogola.

The in thing right now is called Ransom Ware, where a hacker accesses your data and starts blackmailing you. They target professionals who depend on their data for a livelihood and would suffer if it was lost. Mr Ogola explains that the DJ Crème de la Crème sex tape scandal followed that script.


Revenge pornography is another growing trend, where people record themselves in compromising positions thinking the data is safe in their phone. In such cases, either a jilted lover or an opportunistic lover will hack someone’s phone or laptop, access the data and blackmail the victim. A good example was Dj Crème, Meagan Good and Chela Yegon who had their private business broadcast to the world.

“Always buy original apps and software’s, most of this free thing come with a built in feature that backs up all your data,” He advices. “Original software come with tamper prove features, they will keep you safe.”

From free wifi that gives potential hackers access, to blue tooth devices that give them access, hackers are having an easy time.

Mr Ogola says that every photo and video has a digital footprint that can be traced, so that veil of secrecy we assume to have is but a dream. He also reveals that hospitals and insurance companies are being scammed by identity thieves who collect someone’s data and use it to process medical claims.

“The average Kenyan is very ignorant about cyber security and the hackers are having a field day. For me I’m an ethical hacker, so I’m trying to help people with my new platform Digital Humanitarian,” he say.