The group that has hacked the City of Johannesburg is demanding a ransom of four bitcoins worth the equivalent of about R450 000.
The city shut down its billing system as a precautionary measure after it detected a network breach which resulted in unauthorised access to its information system, it said on its Twitter account.
In a message posted on the city’s website, a group called Shadow Kill Hackers is demanding a ransom in four bitcoins, broadcaster eNCA reported. The hackers have threatened to upload all hijacked data on the Internet by 28 October if their ransom is not met, it said on its website.
The incident is currently being investigated by security experts “who have taken immediate and appropriate actions to reinforce security measures and mitigate any potential impacts”, the city said. The investigation will take 24 hours.
In July, Johannesburg’s City Power was hit by a virus that restricted the ability of customers to buy electricity online.
As cyberattacks increase and become more sophisticated, many companies and service providers will find themselves poorly equipped to detect and fight incidents, said Craig Rosewarne, MD at information and cyber-threat management firm Wolfpack Information Risk.
Larger companies are also facing hacks and ransom demands.
“They exploit their systems, steal their information and try to get them to pay to cover it up,” Rosewarne said.
Insurance to cover the costs associated with cleaning up after a breach has become more comprehensive in recent years, “but what it doesn’t cover is your reputation”, he said. — Reported by Roxanne Henderson and Jacqueline Mackenzie, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP