Cyberattack halts South African port operations

By Laura Berrill
Workers on leave as state-owned rail, port and pipeline company Transnet, appears to be in crisis after major cyberattack

The logistics firm has been forced to halt operations at container terminals in Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, according to Bloomberg, which cited a note Transnet sent to customers.

The note reportedly read: “Transnet, including Transnet Port Terminals, experienced an act of cyberattack, security intrusion and sabotage, which resulted in the disruption of TPT normal processes and functions or the destruction or damage of equipment or information”. It went on to say that investigators were currently looking into the source of the compromise and the extent of the breach.

Transnet’s website was still inaccessible on Tuesday morning and was showing an error message.

The Johannesburg-based company, founded in 199, said it was experiencing disruption on its IT network and added it had identified and isolated the source of the disruption. However the technical issues seem to be persisting, with Transnet declaring a ‘force majeure’ - that is unforeseeable circumstances preventing a company from fulfilling a contract.

Major logistical disruption

Transnet’s port in Durban handles over 60% of South Africa’s container traffic. And also according to Bloomberg, the company is taking “all available and reasonable mitigation measures” to limit the impact from the disruption. The head of South Africa’s Road Freight Association said that he was “dismayed and gravely concerned” about the cyberattack.

Its CEO, Gavin Kelly, said the attack resulted in “massive delays and unreliability of the movement of goods across all modes of transport,” adding that road freight is bearing the brunt of the impact. He added the ports were closed with no trucks moving in or out, meaning long queues, delays and congestion.

More disruption following recent riots

The disruption puts Africa’s most industrialised economy in further jeopardy. South Africa is trying to recover after this month’s deadly riots following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma. 

Reuters said Transnet has asked some of its employees who were not involved in running operations to take leave until the issues have been fixed.



Featured Articles

Trillions of dollars created by growing US wireless industry

In 2020 alone, the US wireless industry created US$1.3 trillion in gross output, $825 billion in GDP, and over four million jobs for the national economy

Energy crisis posing threat to IT companies' sustainability

A staggering 79% of IT decision-makers believe that the current energy crisis will have a knock-on effect on their net zero sustainability strategies

Data backup gives way to data protection and cybersecurity

Data backup is no longer just about operational fallback, new research has revealed. Instead, businesses need to consider it a new kind of cybersecurity

Rich investors drawn to digital assets despite crypto crash

Digital Transformation

Five minutes with: Katie Nykanen, Group CTO at QA

Digital Transformation

Big business bets on real-time data and event-streaming tech

Data & Data Analytics