While Transnet still finds itself in the midst of a cyber breach that left its Navis system initially inoperative, while it is still largely shut down, the state-owned logistics company has issued a confidential notice to customers informing them of its decision to declare force majeure.
The leaked statement, which was issued by the chief executive of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), Velile Dube, specifically relates to container terminal operations at the ports of Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, and goes into extensive detail about why the parastatal has decided to classify last Thursday’s breach as an unforeseen event.
The statement says it “serves as notice of declaration of (sic) Force Majeure event, which occurred on 22 July (…) and continues to persist, when Transnet, including TPT, experienced an act of cyberattack, security intrusion and sabotage, which resulted in the disruption of TPT normal processes and functions or the destruction or damage of equipment or information.”
Of concern is that the statement appears to contradict an earlier announcement, issued last Friday, in which Transnet said it had “identified and isolated the source of the disruption to its IT system” (see story: https://tinyurl.com/p5m3224e).
At the time it added that “technical teams are continuing to work around the clock to ensure that the impact remains minimal”.
The report led several freight forwarding and road freight interests to enquire who the “identified and isolated source is” – in vain.
Transnet, unsurprisingly, failed to disclose any further detail about knowing who was responsible for the cyberattack.
All Dube said in yesterday’s statement was that “investigators are currently determining the exact source of the cause of compromise and extent of the ICT data security breach”.
Importantly, it’s worthwhile considering that the statement issued to the media says that the source of the breach has been identified. The other, issued as a confidential notice, says that investigators are still at it.
Needless to say, private sector interests, jittery from the recent insurrectionist violence on the logistics sector in KwaZulu-Natal, are on tenterhooks about what’s going on.
With business concerns none the wiser as to the source of the breach, questions remain about what’s going on at the country’s ports and railways, and when operations will revert from manual contingencies to digital processing.
In the meantime reports are filtering through that Navis is going to remain hobbled by the hack until this coming Friday.