Updated: Dec 31, 2019
Johannesburg - South Africa's largest city, has recently fallen victim to a ransomware attack leaving it's citizens unable to pay their electric bills - successfully shutting down power to many people in the area.
What is Ransomware?
According to google it's "A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid."
And according to Johannesburg, in a series of tweets it looks like someone locked up their online portal that controls applications such as payments and account information - which disrupts the operations of paying their utility bills. Since Johannesburg runs off of a prepaid utility system, you get shut off as soon as you don't pay, so this is becoming a huge problem for the city to deal with. Let this be a lesson to businesses that it's worth paying attention to your network security and infrastructure. Invest in a great IT department and cyber-security, because it will cost you more to pay off a ransomware than a dedicated IT person! *Cough cough*
According to CityPowerJhb's twitter account it looks like they are on their way to restoring the software and isolating the applications affected. If it were me I would be more worried about making sure that after the attack they don't just let customers payments become monitored by an over-sought malware application.