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City of Johannesburg battles ransomware attack

South Africa’s largest city shut down its website and billing systems as a precautionary measure after a group hacked into the municipal authority’s network system.

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Johannesburg says it will not concede to the hackers' demands for Bitcoins
Johannesburg says it will not concede to the hackers' demands for Bitcoins

Johannesburg is gradually restoring control of the city’s information systems following a second cyberattack on its cyber networks in less than six months.

 

South Africa’s largest city shut down its website and billing systems as a precautionary measure, according to reports, after a group hacked into the authority’s system and demanded a ransom of four Bitcoins equivalent to 500,00 rands ($30,000).

 

Security measures

 

“The incident is currently being investigated by city of Joburg cybersecurity experts, who have taken immediate and appropriate action to reinforce security measures to mitigate any potential impacts,” the city said on its Twitter account.

 

The call centre, cashiers and other customer-facing digital platforms were also taken offline, following the breach.

 

“The city will not concede to their demands for Bitcoins and we are confident that we will be able to restore systems to full functionality”

 

Local broadcaster eNCA named the group responsible as Shadow Kill Hackers which threatened to upload all hijacked data on the internet if its crypto-currency ransom wasn’t met.

 

“The city will not concede to their demands for Bitcoins and we are confident that we will be able to restore systems to full functionality,” Funzela Ngobeni, Johannesburg city council member, told the media earlier this week.

 

“We have managed to bring up some of our critical customer-facing systems such as our billing, property valuation system, land information system, e-health and libraries services.”

 

The authorities claim they have since identified the source of the cyberattack, according to a BBC report.

 

“We do know where the attack came from, but at this point in time we are not going to be sharing any details in relation to the whole situation, we will leave that in the hands of authorities,” said Shadrack Sibiya, the city’s head of investigation and forensics.

 

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