SA government entities hit by cyber attacks and services affected
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A CYBER attack on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s (DOJ and CD) IT systems has affected the ability to pay child maintenance payments. Last week the department announced that its systems were interrupted due to a ransomware attack.
MojaPay a system used for administering maintenance grants is one of the systems affected. The security breach has also spilled over to the Information Regulator which relies on the DOJ and CD’s IT systems for its own operations.
The information regulator noted that “As a result of this DOJ and CD security breach, the regulator’s website was temporarily unavailable for three days, and the e-mail system went off-line and remains unavailable,” The website at the time of writing was operational.
South African government entities have been under attack in recent days.
Another state-owned company, Transnet, revealed in July that it had suffered a “disruption” of its IT systems, in what is widely believed to be a ransomware attack. It saw the rail, port, and pipeline company’s operations coming to a standstill.
Herman Singh, Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Business, UCT, said ransomware attacks are the fastest growing form of cybercrime in the world. According to him, they happen through the infiltration by malicious software of a computer or network. The aim is to limit or restrict access to critical data by encrypting files – effectively locking them – until a ransom is paid.
He stressed the severity of the challenge by pointing out that “there is one ransomware attack every 11 seconds globally. The average downtime after each attack is 21 days. This depends on whether the ransom is paid or not. Ransoms are much maligned in public but routinely paid in private”.