South African council refuses to pay Bitcoin ransom


The authorities in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, have refused to pay a ransom of four Bitcoin tokens, valued at approximately 500,000 rand ($34,000; £27,700), to hackers who breached its network last week.

The City of Johannesburg said on Monday that it was confident it would be able to restore its systems to full functionality by close of business.

The hacking attack affected the city’s billing systems and call centres.

“The city will not concede to their demands for Bitcoins and we are confident that we will be able to restore systems to full functionality,” Funzela Ngobeni, a member of the Johannesburg mayoral committee in charge of finance, told reporters.

“We have managed to bring up some of our critical customer facing systems such as our billing, property valuation system, land information system, eHealth and libraries services,” he said.

The hackers sent a ransom note to the City of Johannesburg on October 24 demanding the amount to be paid by October 28 at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

The authorities say they have since identified the source of the cyber attack.

“We do know where the attack came from, but at this point in time we are not going to be sharing any details in relation to the whole situation, we will leave that in the hands of authorities,” said Shadrack Sibiya, the city’s head of investigation and forensics.



Christopher Ojilere