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Transnet, which operates ports and rail infrastructure in South Africa, says it has “identified and isolated” the source of disruption to its online systems, which caused cargo operations at Durban and Cape Town to be halted.

In yet another cyber-attack on transport infrastructure, state-owned Transnet said it had been hit yesterday evening, according to Reuters sources,.

Transnet was prioritising export reefers with perishable cargo at the port of Durban, as the citrus season reached its peak.

Meanwhile, United National Transport Union (UNTU) general secretary Steve Harris has appealed to South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa “to instruct all law enforcement authorities to take decisive action to protect Transnet, one of the few financially viable state-owned enterprises in South Africa, from sabotage, vandalism and criminality”.

Mr Harris said Transnet had endured numerous setbacks due to inefficient support from other players over the past year, hampering management efforts to restore the firm as the leading rail and logistics entity in Africa.

“In the latest blow today, the information technology systems of Transnet shut down after they had been allegedly hacked overnight in a cyber-attack. As a result of that disruption, Transnet had shut down some of its IT applications to identify the source of the attack.

“All operations had to continue using manual systems, which results in delays. This comes despite Transnet going to great lengths to protect its internal systems from hackers,” said the UNTU.

The latest disruption followed attacks on the country’s civil aviation authority and power company in 2019, when malware attacks were reaching close to 14,000 a day at an average cost of R36.5m ($2.47m) for each successful attack.

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