Johannesburg. — As SA grappled with news that the personal information of over 30 million South Africans may have been leaked online in a massive data breach on Tuesday, the country’s cybersecurity hub was offline. Fin24 discovered on Monday morning that the hub – which acts as a portal for reporting cyber issues and falls under the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services – was down.
The website was still down when Fin24 checked on Tuesday evening. In response to a request for comment, a department spokesperson told Fin24 that it had no reports of issues plaguing the website and could not say how long it had been down for. The website was again online by 14:30 on Wednesday.
The hub, which was launched on October 30, 2015, is meant to act as a point of reference for SA citizens for information about cybersecurity. It provides information about how average South Africans can protect themselves against malicious attacks, identity theft and online financial security, according to the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
The hub’s website states that its mission is to “provide information and assistance in implementing proactive measures to reduce the risks of computer security incidents as well as responding to such incidents”. The hub also states it will also “respond to computer security incidents when they occur” and therefore to build confidence in the South African ICT environment. On Tuesday it was reported by Troy Hunt, the creator of the “Have I Been Pwned” website which allows people to check if their personal information has been compromised, that a data breach with information of over 30 million South Africans had been leaked online.
The leak contained a database of names of people, their gender, ethnicity, home ownership and contact information, as well as identity numbers and other information such as estimated income and details of employers. The cybersecurity hub had not yet include any information about the leak by Wednesday afternoon. — Fin24.