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The City of Johannesburg Was Hacked and Officials Are Refusing to Pay the Ransom

The cyber attack happened on Thursday and the city had until today to pay up and protect sensitive data.

The city of Johannesburg was hacked and city officials are refusing to pay the ransom that would get it back online. The hackers, a group called Shadow Kill Hackers, made their move on Thursday night and disrupted the city's official website, demanding a ransom of 4 Bitcoin tokens (about $300,000 or R550,000) by tonight at 5pm. They claimed failure to pay would result in their uploading all data they stole to the web. The hacking forced the city to shut down its systems to keep the Shadow Kill Hackers from gaining further access to sensitive data. Despite that, officials are saying they will not, and have not, paid the ransom.


The Daily Maverick reports that the ransom note, pictured in the tweet below, read:

All your servers and data have been hacked. We have dozens of backdoors inside your city. We have control of everything in your city. We also compromised all the passwords and sensitive data such as finance and personal population information.

Nthatisi Modingoane, City of Johannesburg Deputy Director of Communications, stated that the city spotted the breach early on and were able to stop the hackers from gaining critical access by turning their systems off. The shutdown affected some quintessential programs for the people of Johannesburg. All city websites, billing systems, operating systems and call centers were down—some reports on Twitter claimed that personal mobile banking apps were also taken offline. Joburg officials claim that 80% of the city's systems would be restored and further protected by the time the ransom was to be paid. As of yet, it is not clear if user information has been uploaded, though the deadline has passed.


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Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

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