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City of Joburg says it can’t verify claims of ransom demand in hacking attempt

Forensic investigators are gathering information to establish how hackers tried to access the City's information systems on Friday.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The City of Johannesburg said it's been unable to verify information at this stage of any ransom following an attempted cyber-attack on its information systems on Friday.

Forensic investigators are gathering information to establish how hackers tried to access the City's information systems.

Customers have been unable to pay their bills and access the City's services on line as well as via its call centre.

However, the City spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said it's working to restore critical services.

“There were rumours about a ransom that was being demanded and other matters. So, because we can’t confirm those matters we have roped in the group forensic investigative unit under the leadership of General Shadrack Sibiya.”

This is the second time this year that there's been a major breach on the City of Joburg’s networks.

Three months ago, City Power’s website was hit by a virus which encrypted the utility’s databases.

For a brief period, customers were not able to access the website or buy electricity units.

On Friday the _Business Day _reported that a group calling itself the Shadow Kill Hackers demanded four bitcoins by Monday, which the newspaper said amounted to over R400,000 at the time of publishing.

The group threatened to leak customers' data on the internet if its demands are not met.

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque