Child maintenance payments to be delayed after ‘ransomware attack’

The Information Regulator of South Africa has confirmed its system experienced a website crash last week following ransomware attacks.

The Information Regulator of South Africa falls under the the department of justice, which was among those hit by a series of recent ransomware attacks.

The department said because of this beneficiaries of child maintenance payments would be delayed due to departmental systems, including MojaPay, not being accessible.

“While the department is not able to determine the exact date when the required systems will be restored, the department will ensure that all child maintenance money is kept secure for payment to the rightful beneficiaries when the systems are back online,” said spokesperson Steve Mahlangu.

“The current system challenges do not affect the receipt of child maintenance money from the maintenance-paying parent or employers who deduct these from the paying parent’s salary.

“The monthly child maintenance deductions will go ahead as scheduled.”

Mahlangu said experts were hard at work to restore the system, confirming that the website had been restored, to be able to publish updates regarding services to the public.

ALSO READ: Calls for transparency after justice department cyber attack

“The Masters Offices are currently, as interim measure, using a manual process to provide [for] bereaved families, in exceptional cases, where there is a need to access funds from the deceased’s banking account for burial costs.

“No manual letters of executorship or authority will be issued in this crisis period.”

Following the cyberattacks on the justice department and SA National Space Agency, on Monday it came to light that the department’s IT department hadn’t been paid for two months.

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of justice and constitutional development Glynnis Breytenbach called on Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola to account for the breach.

“The justice system is utterly reliant on a functioning IT system and, with the Covid lockdowns already significantly slowing down the wheels of justice, the country simply cannot afford this further vulnerability,” said Breytenbach.

While Mahlangu said there was no indication that any data had been compromised, a security expert, Anna Collard, told a business technology publication that the department’s data could be in danger due to the nature of the ransomware.

Read more on these topics

child maintenance Cybercrime justice department