10-27-2019 icon

South Africa: Hackers Take Over Johannesburg’s Civil Website, Demand $30K in Bitcoin

By Sagetwriter

In a new wave of cyber attack, a group of hackers who address themselves as the “Shadow Kill Hackers”, have reportedly gained access to the administrative website of South Africa’s capital city of Johannesburg.

The hackers are threatening to upload the stolen website data on the internet, unless a sum of $30,000 in Bitcoin (about 4 BTC at this time) is paid to them. Reports say the attack occurred in the early hours of October 25, when the criminals disabled the city’s website and other related online services.

According to SA news outlet eNCA, the hackers threatened:

“If you pay on time, we will destroy all the data we have, and we will send your IT a full report about how we hacked your systems and your security holes.”

In reaction to the incident, the city tweeted that it had detected a network breach which resulted in unauthorized access to its information systems.

The tweet further stated:

“The incident is currently being investigated by City of Johannesburg  cybersecurity 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 and billing systems — have been shut down as a precaution.”

City workers have not been left out of the incident. Many are said to have received ransom notes with the words; “All your servers and data have been hacked. We have dozens of back doors inside your city. We also compromised all passwords and sensitive data such as finance and personal population information.”

At this time, the SA police and other national intelligence agencies are carrying out investigations  and safety protocols to deter further breach and damage.

This latest cyber attack comes at a time when cryptocurrency adoption is spreading globally. However, discussions regarding the safety and tracking of digital currency transactions have also been raised.

In a similar incident, the Nigerian Police has arrested the suspected kidnapper who collected $15,000 Bitcoin ransom in the FCT.

For more, see our publication on the traceability of Bitcoin/cryptocurrency transactions.