City of Joburg shuts down all systems after cyber attack demanding bitcoin ransom

The City of Joburg on Thursday night announced a breach of its network on and shut down its website and all e-services as a precautionary measure. 

In a tweet, the City said it had detected a network breach "which resulted which resulted in an unauthorised access to our information systems". 

Business Day reported that the attack comes hours after the City received a bitcoin ransom note from a group called the Shadow Kill Hackers.

READ | Notorious hacker shuts down government website... again

The City further tweeted: "The incident is currently being investigated by City of Joburg cyber security experts, who have taken immediate and appropriate action to reinforce security measures to mitigate any potential impacts. As a result several customer facing systems – including the city’s website, e-services, billing system – have been shut down...

"As a result, several customer-facing systems - including the City's website, e-services; billing system... has been shut down as a precautionary measure." 

24-hour shutdown

The City said the shutdown would last for 24 hours and meant that customers would not be able to transact on e-services or log queries at the call centre. 

According to Business Day, the note on Twitter came after several city employees received the ransom note, which reads: "All your servers and data have been hacked. We have dozens of back doors inside your city. We have control of everything in your city. We also compromised all passwords and sensitive data such as finance and personal population information."

The hackers reportedly demand the payment of 4.0 bitcoins by October 28 at 17:00 failing which they will upload all the data on to the internet.

The hack reportedly occurred at the same time that several banks also reported internet problems believed to be related to cyber attacks.

Standard Bank tweeted: "You may be finding it difficult to log on to Internet banking and our Banking App at the moment. We're working to sort this out."

ABSA similarly tweeted: "We are aware of the ongoing intermittent issues with our digital channels and our technicians are working on a fix. We will let you know as soon as that is resolved and we're up and running again. Apologies for any inconvenience caused."

Both banks have since reported that the issues had been resolved. 

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Many companies are asking employees to return to office full time after years of remote/hybrid settings. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I can't wait to be back!
17% - 892 votes
No thanks, remote work is the future
24% - 1215 votes
Hybrid is the best option to keep everyone happy
59% - 3054 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.