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Transnet Cyber-Attack: What Can We Learn?

South African ports recently fell victim to a cyber-attack on Transnet, the custodian of ports, rail and pipelines in South Africa, that forced ports to declare force majeure. The Transnet cyber-attack also brought operations at the container terminals in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and Durban to a halt. After an already challenging period due to the pandemic, this was a blow that these ports did not need. Durban Port alone handles 60% of South Africa’s shipments, much of which is destined to other African countries. However, the disruption in our nation was felt internationally too, as materials handled by Transnet were hugely delayed.

We take a closer look at what we can learn from the cyber-attack.

The Importance of Security in a Digital Age

As we saw with the recent civil unrest in the country, physical security is very important to South Africa’s ports. In saying this, living in a digital age means that we need to pay just as much attention to cyber security too. There has been a marked increase in cyber-attacks across all industries internationally since the beginning of the global pandemic. As our reliance on technology continues to increase, so does the existing threat, along with it. As ports around the world increase their reliance on tech, they also need to increase their cyber security and vigilance.

Get Your Employees Up to Speed

Numata Business IT believes that any business of any size and operating model, including Transnet, can be vulnerable to cyber threats. “We believe that enlisting your employees in the fight against cybercrime is the best way to protect your organisation from cyber threats,” says Cybersecurity Product Manager, Liza Weschta. “The aim is to prevent an attack before it happens and then to have a plan in place if there is a security incident.” Liza explains that encouraging a participatory security culture makes everyone in the company feel like they are part of the IT team. This involves implementing regular and thorough cybersecurity awareness training for all staff. Developing an incident response plan for any eventuality is also vitally important.

Protect Data

The ministry confirmed that preliminary assessments showed that Transnet and its customers’ data was not compromised by the attack. Whilst being a huge relief in this instance, lost data has been a huge issue in other similar cyber-attacks. Having systems in place to keep data secure is of vital importance.

Have you experienced a cyber attack or data breach? Send us your comments!

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