Telkom call centres back online after malware attack

Telkom call centres are back online after the company shut down several systems in response to an infection of malicious software, a spokesperson has told MyBroadband.

“On Friday, 29 May, Telkom became aware of a malware infection on its internal system and immediately shut down all systems and call centres as a precautionary response,” the company stated.

“Our customers have been able to access services and have not been impacted.”

Telkom customers have not been complaining about downtime. However, the vice-chancellor and principal at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, stated that system problems at Telkom were preventing free data allocations from going out to students.

“I apologise to our UJ students who are expecting data from Telkom. Telkom has system problems and is attending to the matter. We shall update you as soon as they have resolved the matter,” Marwala said.

Telkom has denied that the outage was due to a ransomware attack. This follows industry speculation that Telkom fell prey to the PonyFinal ransomware, which Microsoft Security Intelligence issued an alert for on 27 May.

“No ransomware was detected on the Telkom systems,” the company stated.

This is not be the first time Telkom’s systems have been severely affected by malicious software.

In 2017, the company was a victim of the global WannaCry ransomware attack. The outage prevented subscribers from using Telkom’s USSD menu or app, which means they could not buy bundles.

Technicians monitoring Telkom systems

In addition to its call centres being back online, Telkom said that its Telkom Direct stores are operational.

“Our technicians continue to monitor systems,” Telkom said.

“Please note due to COVID-19 our channels are operating with reduced capacity.”

Now read: Data leak on UIF COVID-19 relief scheme website

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Telkom call centres back online after malware attack