Justice dept rubbishes ransom demand claims after cyber attack

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The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has recovered some functionality on its MojaPay system, which controls its child maintenance payment system, and these have been administered.

This, after the department was recently hit by a ransomware attack, which led to all information systems being encrypted and unavailable to internal employees, as well as members of the public.

As a result, all electronic services provided by the department were affected, including the issuing of letters of authority, bail services, e-mail and the departmental website.

However, it has strongly denied reports that hackers demanded a R33 million ransom, following a ransomware attack on its IT systems earlier this month.

According to the report, hackers allegedly encrypted all information on the department’s electronic system, including backups, and demanded the ransom be paid – an allegation the department strongly denied.

“The [department] would like to place it on the record that it has not received any ransom demand following the ransomware attack as suggested by an article…published on 20 September 2021. The article to this effect is completely untrue,” the department says.

Transnet, another government entity which suffered what is widely believed to be a ransomware attack, also said no ransom was paid to the cyber criminals.

In a statement today, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says the restoration of other services is still under way.

“To date, great progress had been made to contain the spread, while restoring critical services to the public. While the department is not yet in a position to determine the exact date when all systems will be restored, it is encouraged by the progress made by the IT experts thus far,” the department says.

In the courts, the department has introduced manual systems to ensure proceedings are not negatively affected.

“The department’s IT team, working closely with IT coordinators and directors for court operations at the regional offices, has introduced standard operating procedures for manually operating the Court Recording Technology systems to ensure the safety of the court records is guaranteed. All courts are expected to operate normally without any challenges related to the CRT systems,” the department says.

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15 Aug
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