This morning, the city of Johannesburg was hit with a computer virus which resulted in a blackout to its internet technology system. This blackout resulted in scores of prepaid electricity users being left in the dark, as they struggle to make prepaid electricity purchases.
City Power spokesperson, Isac Mangena, said the virus had attacked its database and other internal software, impacting on most of it’s applications as well as their network systems.
The computer virus that has attacked City Power was confirmed to be a type of ransomware. You might be asking yourself, what is ransomware? Ransom malware, or ransomware, is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access.
Besides not allowing users to purchase prepaid electricity, the ransomware virus has also prevented those who had already bought their electricity from uploading it to their meter boxes. City Power has deployed technicians to resolve this urgently and services at the time of writing, some service has already been restored.
“It may also affect our response to some outages, as the system to order and dispatch material is affected. City Power IT team has been working since early morning 01:00 to fix this problem,” Mangena said.
To make matters worse, the utility yesterday also announced that there was great difficulty experienced in generating capacity, largely due to the cold weather. Mangena said cold weather conditions could result in unplanned outages, as the electrical system experienced overloading when demand increased.
“We have also increased the number of technicians in areas that are prone to repeated unplanned power outages.
“More teams have been put on standby so that they can be dispatched to attend to outages and respond to emergency calls,” he said.
To this end, residents have been urged to use electricity sparingly during this time.