City Power hit by ransomware attack

Read time 1min 30sec

City Power, the City of Johannesburg’s electricity utility, has been hit by a ransomware attack that has encrypted databases, applications and network.

In a series of tweets this morning, the utility says: “City Power has been hit by a ransomware virus. It has encrypted all our databases, applications and network. Currently, our ICT department is cleaning and rebuilding all impacted applications.”

In another tweet, it says: “Customers may not be able to visit our website and may not be able to buy electricity units until our ICT department has sorted the matter out. Customers and stakeholders will be updated as and when new information becomes available.

“As customers cannot access our website, alternatively they can use (link: http://citypower.mobi) citypower.mobi to log calls.”

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid.

It typically spreads through phishing e-mails or by unknowingly visiting an infected Web site. Ransomware can be devastating to an individual or an organisation.

Anyone with important data stored on their computer or network is at risk, including government or law enforcement agencies and healthcare systems or other critical infrastructure entities.

Recovery can be a difficult process that may require the services of a reputable data recovery specialist, and some victims pay to recover their files. However, there is no guarantee that individuals will recover their files if they pay the ransom.

City Power was established in 2001 as an independent municipal entity, wholly owned by the City of Johannesburg. It is accountable for providing electricity and network services to all its customers.

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