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Cyber attack: Personal information may have been retrieved – Justice Dept

The Justice Department announced it had become the latest victim of a malicious cyber attack which affected some of its functions

Ransomware microsoft

Image via Adobe Stock

The Department of Justice says it has made some progress in responding to a recent cyber attack that led to a delay in some of its main functions. The department says there have been ongoing investigations into the source of the security breach and has revealed that personal information may have been compromised.

The Department announced over two weeks ago that it had become the latest victim of a malicious cyber security hack, affecting all its electronic services including the issuing of letters of authority, bail services, email, and the departmental website.

It has since been hard at work attending to its online systems and says they should be restored in the coming weeks – but in the meantime, some of its services have had to be carried out manually.

Child maintenance payments recipients also had to wait a little longer for the funds because systems used to administer them were also affected by the attack. Spokesperson Steve Mahlangu says over 30 000 beneficiaries had been paid so far.

Mahlangu added that manual processes had been put in place to ensure the courts could operate normally.

“In the past week, the electronic recording of court proceedings had been restored since 16 September 2021 and, as such, most courts are operating as normal,” he said.

Justice Dept still probing cyber attack

The Department of Justice says it regards the cyber attack as a serious crime and is currently engaging the relevant law enforcement agencies. It reported the cyber hack to the Information Regulator, but the department adds that at the time, it initial investigations were still ongoing and there were no indications of any personal information being compromised.

“Upon receiving a further report following the ongoing investigation into the breach, it was reported on 19 September 2021 that some personal information may have been exfiltrated (i.e. data having been accessed and sent outside of the organisation). We are in the process of establishing the exact nature of personal information that has been accessed (e.g. addresses, email, etc), as well as the affected parties involved,”

Spokesperson Steve Mahlangu

The department further adds that it is already implementing measures to prevent a similar cyber attack from occurring in future, including an upgrade on its ICT security infrastructure.