A ransomware attack has crippled City Power, the electric utility for Johannesburg, South Africa. That grid is particularly important since it powers South Africa's financial district, Reuters notes.
It's the latest in a growing list of malware attacks that specifically target cities, municipalities and government agencies worldwide.
City Power: Ransomware Attack Details
The situation in Johannesburg sounds serious. City Power's Twitter feed offered the following details:
"City Power has been hit by a Ransomware virus. it has encrypted all our databases, applications and network. Currently our ICT department is cleaning and rebuilding all impacted applications.^GR"
A follow-up tweet stated:
"Customers may not be able to visit our website and may not be able to buy electricity units until our ICT department has sorted the matter out, Customers and stakeholders will be updated as and when new information becomes available^GR"
And then this:
"Due to software problem that we currently have customers and stakeholders may not be able to upload invoices when making payments^GR"
We'll be watching for more updates.
Ransomware Attacks Government Infrastructure
As of July 2019, ransomware attacks have hit at least 170 county, city, or state government systems since 2013, and 22 of those attacks occurred in the first half of 2019, according to The U.S. Conference of Mayors. The most recent attacks have hit these cities.
Those mayors have vowed to stop paying ransomware demands from hackers, but those same mayors will need to boost their cybersecurity and business continuity stances in order to ensure they can maintain such a vow.
MSPs Also Suffer Ransomware Attacks
MSPs have also suffered ransomware attacks in recent months. The fallout has included:
- An MSP paying hackers $150,000 to unlock data;
- hackers specifically targeting MSP software platforms to launch ransomware attacks; and
- Ryuk ransomware hitting a CSP that works closely with MSPs.
Hackers worldwide have been hitting MSPs of all sizes — not just global technology service providers. The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly warned MSPs and their technology platform providers about such attacks.
Amid those challenges, the MSP industry (spanning technology companies, service providers and more) could soon face a “crisis of credibility” if the market doesn’t take major steps to more effectively mitigate ransomware threats, cyberattacks and associated fallout, ChannelE2E and MSSP Alert believe.