South Africa: No Ransom Paid to Alleged Hackers - Department of Justice

21 September 2021

The Justice and Constitutional Development Department has clarified a media report that hackers demanded a R33 million ransom, following a ransomware attack on the department's Information Technology 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 said.

Meanwhile, the department said it has recovered some functionality on its MojaPay system which controls its child maintenance payment system and these have been administered.

The restoration of other services is still underway.

"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 said.

In the courts, the department has introduced manual systems to ensure that 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 (CRT) systems to ensure that 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 said.

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