Justice Department victim of latest security breach | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has confirmed that it has become the victim of a malicious cyber security hack, with all electronic services provided by the Department – including the issuing of letters of authority, bail services, email, and the departmental website – currently offline as tech experts endeavour to restore stability to internal systems.

This latest security breach follows the announcement earlier today by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) that they too were victims of a cyber attack on 6 September, with cyber hacking group CoomingProject having claimed responsibility. 

Latest cyber hack confirmed by Justice and Constitutional development dept.  

In an alarming statement issued on 9 September, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said that the breach was effected through ransomware on the evening of 6 September 2021.

“Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge,” they explained, saying that such an event has led to “all information systems being encrypted and unavailable to both internal employees as well as members of the public”. 

As a result of the hack, all electronic services provided by the Department are affected. The Department insisted that that their IT teams are “working tirelessly to restore services as soon as is practically possible”. 

Who is affected by security breach? 

The implications of the hack are significant, with Child Maintenance payments just one of many services overseen by the department. In their statement, they assured those who rely on their services that the aforementioned payments have already been processed. 

“Child Maintenance payments for month-end have already been processed and will therefore not be impacted by the current system outage,” they said. 

In light of the incident, the Department has activated its Business Continuity Plan and “put contingency measures in place to ensure that the IT system challenges do not affect court operations around the country”. 

“Manual recording equipment will be used to ensure that court seatings continue as scheduled,” the department said, adding that the Office of the Chief Master is currently using a manual process to provide bereaved families with the necessary documentation that they need to bury their loved ones.

“The Department’s IT experts are working together with state agencies to investigate and resolve the problem. So far no indication of data compromise has been detected,” they said. 

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