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CIPC breached | South Africa

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in South Africa recently fell victim to a significant cyberattack, triggering concerns about the security of personal and corporate data. The CIPC, an agency under the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, is responsible for the registration of companies, cooperatives, and intellectual property rights.

This cyberattack compromised the personal information of clients and CIPC employees. Experts in cybersecurity found that the dark web was selling login credentials from the CIPC breach. This incident underscores the risks associated with “credential stuffing,” where hackers use successful login credentials from one website to gain unauthorised access to other online services.

The attack also raises questions about the strength of CIPC’s security systems, especially since the ransomware gang allegedly responsible claimed to have had access to parts of CIPC’s systems since at least 2021. In response to the breach, CIPC took immediate steps to mitigate the damage. This included isolating the security breach and temporarily shutting down certain systems. Thanks to their extensive firewall and data protection systems, the CIPC’s ICT technicians responded quickly.

The CIPC assured the public that the affected systems are now operational again and available for processing. As part of the recovery process, CIPC implemented a mandatory password reset and urged clients to be vigilant, particularly when monitoring credit card transactions.

This incident is part of a growing list of cyberattacks targeting government agencies and state-owned enterprises in South Africa. The increasing frequency of cyberattacks like this is a cause for concern, not only for the government but also for the citizens whose data might be at risk. The CIPC has taken steps to strengthen its digital security, including implementing a new customer verification process for South African ID holders and foreign passport holders, to enhance account security.

The CIPC breach is a stark reminder of the importance of robust cybersecurity measures for protecting sensitive data. The consequences of cybersecurity breaches are far-reaching, affecting not just the targeted institution but also its clientele and, by extension, the broader economy. It emphasises the need for both the public and private sectors to strengthen their cybersecurity infrastructures and practices.

Contact us to do a penetration test or vulnerability assessment for your organisation.

Sources:

techcentral.co.za/cipc-hack-customers-change-passwords/24094

itweb.co.za/article/cipc-registry-restores-it-systems-after-cyber-attack/P3gQ2MGAyxQvnRD1

citizen.co.za/business/cipc-hacked-companies-personal-information-compromised/

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