EXCLUSIVE: Notorious hacker shuts down government website... again

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This is a screen grab of cybersecurityhub.gov.za's website. (News24)
This is a screen grab of cybersecurityhub.gov.za's website. (News24)

A notorious hacker completely shut down government website cybersecurityhub.gov.za on Tuesday, and made it completely inaccessible.

Twitter user @VirusSec contacted News24 on Tuesday afternoon to say they intended shutting down the site. Within minutes, it was down. 

The aim of the Cybersecurity Hub is to protect South African citizens and businesses online, and to contribute to the security of National Critical Infrastructure.

READ: Alleged 'hacker' strikes again, this time it's City of Tshwane's website

In a direct message to News24 on Twitter, @VirusSec said they were targeting government sites because "the current South African government is greedy, and it needs to change".

@VirusSec said they knew many South Africans, including those who had left. 

They, however, indicated that, although they had visited the country, they were not South African. 

"People tell me that I don't know what I am talking about, but I have been in South Africa. I know what it's like," @VirusSec told News24. 

READ: 'Hacker' claims responsibility for Department of Environmental Affairs site crash

This appeared to be the fourth cyber attack by @VirusSec in the space of three months.

Earlier this month, the website of the Department of Environmental Affairs was hacked. 

In June, the Presidency's website also went down and @VirusSec took to Twitter and claimed responsibility, saying the attack was linked to the lion bone trade.

@VirusSec told News24 that the government was the target. A big reason was for the bone trade and for allowing the auctions of rhino horns.

"Hence why many websites have been hacked, but no personal local information has been leaked."

@VirusSec claimed they had also hacked official Taliban websites in the past.

"Just note this, brother. This is not the end," @VirusSec said. 

Head of security for the Cybersecurity Hub Kiru Pillay said the website seemed to be "working fine". 

"I'm checking with our hosting partner now and I don't have any other comment until I can confirm with them."

More to follow as the story develops.

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