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Cyber hack hits Transnet’s operations

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State-run logistics and port operator Transnet has been hit by an apparent cyber hack, with its IT system, several of its websites and its vital Navis container terminal operating system offline on Thursday.

Moneyweb was alerted to the issue by concerned freight industry insiders, however, Transnet Group is yet to confirm the extent of the IT outage and if all divisions are affected.

A letter to clients on Thursday morning from the Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) division, seen by Moneyweb, states that “Transnet is currently experiencing a problem with some of its IT applications”.

“We have had to shut them [the IT applications] down to identify the source of the problem.”

“We have activated our business continuity plans in order to contain any adverse impact on operations,” the letter adds.

“We are working to reduce the downtimes to ensure that the systems are up and running again as soon as possible,” it further notes.

It is unclear if all Transnet divisions are affected, but Moneyweb could not access the group’s website as well as the websites of several of its divisions, including TFR and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) on Thursday morning.

The TPT division operates the country’s port terminals, including terminals at major container ports like Durban, Ngqura (Eastern Cape) and Cape Town.

TPT sent a similar letter to clients on Thursday morning as TFR.

The IT outage could not have come at a worse time for Transnet, after last week’s riots and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, which brought some of its operations to a halt. Operations have since restarted, but the IT issue is affecting some of its operations.

Transnet group issued a statement later on Thursday confirming that it is “experiencing disruption on its IT network”, however, it made no mention of whether this was related to a cyber-attack.

“Transnet Ltd SOC is currently experiencing a disruption in some of its IT applications, and the source of this problem is being identified,” it said.

“All business continuity plans have been activated. Operations across the group are continuing, with the Freight Rail, Pipelines, Engineering and Property divisions reporting normal activity,” it added.

“Port terminals [TPT] are operational across the system, with the exception of container terminals, as the NAVIS system on the trucking side has been affected,” Transnet however, pointed out.

“In the Eastern Cape, terminal operations have been halted due to inclement weather conditions, and will continue manually once it is safe to do so,” it said.

“The Ports Authority continues to operate, and vessels moving in and out of the ports are being recorded manually. Customers have been made aware of the disruption and are being engaged throughout the process,” Transnet said.

“Work is underway to reduce the downtime to ensure that the impacted systems are up and running again as soon as possible,” it reiterated.

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