At least R300 million has been looted from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in a 10-year-long embezzlement by alleged cyber attackers working with department officials.  (Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images)

At least R300 million has been looted from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in a 10-year-long embezzlement by alleged cyber attackers working with department officials. (Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images)


Cybercriminals suspected of working with state authorities have looted R300 million from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) through repeated attacks over 10 years.

In a statement Wednesday morning, new Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Dan McPherson said the revelation that the department was a “soft target” for cyber attackers came as he and Deputy Minister Sahl Zikalala reviewed the department’s work.

McPherson said investigators have seized 30 department laptops and three top DPWI officials have been suspended. An official in a middle management role has also been suspended.

The latest raid took place in May, when R24 million was looted from the department.

The incident triggered a full forensic investigation by the Hawks, the South African Police Service, the State Security Agency, and IT experts, ordered by former DPWI Minister Zikalala.

“It’s become clear that the department has been a soft target and playground for over 10 years, and it should have been picked up a long time ago,” McPherson said.

He said that collusion of criminals and department officials in this case cannot be ruled out and vowed to crack down on these syndicates.

“This is money that could have been spent on our infrastructure drive to improve the lives of South Africans,” Macpherson said.



Source link