CIPIT Research Reveals Evidence of Internet Traffic Tampering in Kenya: The Case of Safaricom’s Network

CIPIT has been conducting network measurements on Kenyan Internet Service Providers (ISPs) since June 2016 using assorted techniques. Between 6 – 10 February 2017, the data indicated the presence of a middle-box on the cellular network of one provider, Safaricom Limited (AS33771) that had not previously presented any signs of traffic manipulation. Middle-boxes assume dual-use character in that they can be used for legitimate functions (e.g., network optimisation) and can simultaneously be used for traffic manipulation, surveillance and aiding censorship.

In light of such dual uses, our report makes it clear that service providers operating middle-boxes must communicate to the public in a transparent manner the justification for such activity. This is especially relevant as government bodies announce plans to monitor the Internet during Kenya’s current electoral processes.
Our research brief presents the methodology we use to detect middle-boxes, illustrates how that methodology was applied on Kenyan networks as well as our findings from the ten months investigations. Finally, we contextualised these findings within the Kenyan political and legal processes.
Download the research brief here.
UPDATE 25 March 2017
Read Safaricom’s reply to our publication and our subsequent clarifications to the queries raised in the reply.

  1. Victor Nyorani
    Victor Nyorani
    I would be more worried if it involved Orange internet, since I hardly use Safaricom.
  2. Wilson
    This is sort of bad to be honest. Why would they even do that? Or it is a trend at the moment. Spying all the way to the bank with powers that be.
  3. Robert
    Is it possible that the middle-boxes still exist but they found a way to make them invisible to your test tools?
  4. NA-Tech4Good
    Should M-Pesa users be concerned on integrity of transactions ?
    • Moses Karanja
      Moses Karanja
      Our study was on the Internet platform and even that does not imply any serious wrong doing on Safaricom's side. We cannot comment on M-PESA's transactions.
  5. Eric W
    Eric W
    The links on your update no longer work
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