How a ransomware attack resulted in Power Outage

Power outage logo

The digital advancements have surely made life easier for all of us. Industries are benefitting from the recent updates and the technology that has been invented over the years. There’s no denying the benefits of this advancement, but relying on technology also has its cons. Ransomware attacks are becoming very common these days.

The drawback of using technology is the numerous cyber-attacks that have started taking place. Where technology was once the savior of humankind, it is slowly being misused and turned against us. Don’t be fooled, though. Technology isn’t to be blamed completely, as humans are the ones misusing it. But with people being affected all over the globe, downplaying the traitorous role of technology isn’t acceptable.

Recently, the citizens of Johannesburg experienced the flip side of this advancement. Being the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is the epitome of power and civil infrastructure. However, in July 2019, the entire city came to a standstill when a ransomware virus attacked the city’s power company.

The ransomware virus encrypted the databases, network and applications of City Power— the company that’s responsible for powering Johannesburg.

The cyber-attack turned out to be a hassle for prepaid customers. They were rendered incapable of buying electricity units, which eventually led to a power outage. A number of customers couldn’t upload invoices to make payments, and even the City Power’s official website was inaccessible because of the ransomware virus.

The only good thing to come from the attack was the company’s announcement that no customer details were compromised because of the attack. This was the only bright side to the attack because if the details would have been leaked, customers could have been in real danger. The financial information stores in the databases alone would have caused great grievances for prepaid customers.

As soon as the concerned authorities at City Power realized the problem, they allotted resources to deal with the issues. They were able to restore the power to some of the affected areas within a few hours. In addition to this, most of the critical applications that were affected by the attack were also restored, enabling customers to buy electricity easily.

Final Thought

In spite of the quick damage control efforts by City Power, there are many affected areas and applications that have yet to be restored. The next step now is to determine the severity and type of the cyber-attack. Once this has been determined, the company will be able to give a definite answer as to how long the complete cleanup process will take. The company has been candid about its efforts and has expressed its concern that it might take weeks and cost millions of dollars to repair the damage caused.