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Ransomware attack hits Johannesburg power

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

Parts of the South African capital Johannesburg were left without electricity yesterday after one of the city’s electricity providers was hit by ransomware (opens in new tab).

Both residents and businesses that use the services of City Power were left in the dark, as the company’s database, internal network, web apps and official website got encrypted.

City Power is a pre-paid electricity provider. It confirmed the incident in a series of tweets posted on the company’s official Twitter account. The incident has left people without the option of buying electric power units, or selling solar panel-produced power back into the grid.

Besides the usual interference, City Power also said that the ransomware attack made it harder to respond outages, as they can’t access internal applications. They’re increasing the number of support teams on standby, just in case.

The company is owned by the city. It decided not to disclose the name of the ransomware (opens in new tab), or the amount that was demanded for the decryption key.

This is not the first time a city, or a municipality, got hit by ransomware. Recently, two separate cities in the state of Florida were also infected by ransomware. One of them, Riviera Beach (opens in new tab), agreed to pay the ransom. The other one, Lake City, also paid the ransom, and also fired the IT employee that was in charge of keeping their networks safe.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.