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South African port operations disrupted by cyber attack

A major cyber attack disrupted container operations at the South African port of Cape Town.

user icon Nastasha Tupas
Fri, 23 Jul 2021
South African port operations disrupted by cyber attack
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Reuters has reported that Cape Town Harbour Carriers Association had distributed an email to members that revealed the port operating systems were affected by a cyber attack and advised that there would be no movement of cargo until the company's system had been restored.

Transnet's official website was down showing an error message.

Transnet, which operates major South African ports, including Durban and Cape Town, and a massive railway network that transports minerals and other commodities for export, confirmed its IT applications were experiencing disruptions.


The state-owned company declined to comment on whether a cyber attack caused the disruption, but the sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the press, revealed to Reuters that an attack had occurred.

Transnet had already suffered major disruptions to its ports and national freight rail line last week following days of unrest and violence in parts of the country.

In response to a question on whether the cyber attack on Transnet was linked to the unrest, a government official said that the matter was under investigation.

"We are investigating, and when that is confirmed or dispelled we are going to make that announcement."

"Currently we are treating it as an unrelated event," the government official said.

The latest disruption has delayed containers and auto parts, but commodities were mostly unaffected as they were in a different part of the port, one of the anonymous sources told Reuters.

Transnet's container terminals were disrupted while its freight rail, pipeline, engineering and property divisions reported normal activity.

[Related: The new era of armed conflict: Imperatives for digital defence]

Nastasha Tupas

Nastasha Tupas

Nastasha is a Journalist at Momentum Media, she reports extensively across veterans affairs, cyber security and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. She is a co-author of a book titled The Stories Women Journalists Tell, published by Penguin Random House. Previously, she was a Content Producer at Verizon Media, a Digital Producer for Yahoo! and Channel 7, a Digital Journalist at Sky News Australia, as well as a Website Manager and Digital Producer at SBS Australia. Nastasha started her career in media as a Video Producer and Digital News Presenter at News Corp Australia.

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