Justice department's IT system brought down in ransomware attack

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  • Ransomware was detected in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development systems on Monday. 
  • The ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading.
  • According to the department no data compromise has been detected so far.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has announced that its Information Technology system has been interrupted due to a security breach.

IT experts from the department were working closely with state agencies to investigate and resolve the issue, spokesperson Steve Mahlangu said in a statement on Thursday.

He said there that, so far, there was no indication of data being compromised. 

The breach was achieved through ransomware on Monday evening. 

ALSO READ | 'Take the hit': As ransomware attacks increase, cybersecurity experts say don't pay

This resulted in all information systems being encrypted and unavailable to internal employees and members of the public. 

"As a result, all electronic services provided by the department are affected, including issuing of letters of authority, bail services, email, and the departmental website," Mahlangu said. 

He said IT teams were working to restore services. 

The system interruption would, however, not affect child maintenance payments for the month because they were already processed, Mahlangu added. 

He said the department had also activated its Business Continuity Plan and placed contingency measures in place to ensure that the system challenges did not affect court operations countrywide.

The Office of the Chief Master was also using a manual process to provide bereaved families with the necessary documentation that they needed to bury their loved ones; he said.

"Manual recording equipment will be used to ensure that court sittings continue as scheduled."

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