Govt investigating if linked to continuing unrest | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Steven Ambrose, Head of Cyber Security at Atvance Intelligence.

Image: © Leon Swart/

National logistics and port operator Transnet was hit with an apparent cyber attack on Thursday.

Government is investigating whether the reported hack is linked to the continuing unrest said Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

She was responding to questions during a media briefing on government interventions to rebuild the economy.

“Currently we are treating it not as an unrelated event.”

Transnet had announced that it was experiencing “a disruption in some of its IT applications”.

It said operations were continuing normally across most of its operations, but the Ports Authority had to manually record vessels moving in and out of ports.

Disruptions to the Navis operating system also affected the running of container terminals.

Bruce Whitfield interviews Steven Ambrose, the Head of Cyber Security at Atvance Intelligence.

He asks if the hack, given its timing, could be pure coincidence?

RELATED: Cybercrime is on the increase – and so are the amounts of ransom money

Ambrose says the explanation could come down simply to South Africa being in the news lately because of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

What we’re seeing in the cyber space at the moment is a flurry of activity by nation states, by cyber criminals…
The reality is we were in the news for seven days and that’s exactly the kind of media attention that cyber criminals look for…

Steven Ambrose, Head of Cyber Security – Atvance Intelligence

We need to understand that these guys run sophisticated, well-funded environments… they’re multi-jurisdictional and anonymize the activity… They look for these vulnerabilities that may or may not exist… The minute they find that they absolutely exploit it…

Steven Ambrose, MD – Atvance Intelligence

The cyber criminals are looking for soft targets and figuring out how to take advantage of poorly managed environments says Ambrose.

It is worrying that they are looking at national governments and how to bring down critical infrastructure, he adds.

There is a campaign globally. We’ve seen Australia’s government effectively come out against ransomware, we saw some really critical attacks in the US specifically against oil pipelines…

Steven Ambrose, Head of Cyber Security – Atvance Intelligence

They look for the vulnerabilities. They don’t really know who they are attacking in many cases… A lot of the attacks we’re seeing are based on machines and robots and a lot of the time they don’t necessarily know who’s at the end of what they are doing.

Steven Ambrose, Head of Cyber Security – Atvance Intelligence

They all think that everyone has got cyber insurance and this is going to pay their loot…

Steven Ambrose, Head of Cyber Security – Atvance Intelligence

This activity is leading to an underground economy says Ambrose.

“They say by the end of this year it should be between a $3- and $6 trillion enterprise.”

Listen to the cyber security expert’s insights below:

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