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In early December 2012 three government websites were defaced by hackers, but to date only two of these websites were restored.

On 9 December 2012 the message “Website hacked by H4ksniper” appeared with an animated graphic on three government websites – the Presidential National Commission (PNC), the National Population Unit, and the Department of Social Development.

Two of these websites were restored soon afterwards (the Presidential National Commission and the Department of Social Development), but the National Population Unit’s website has been down since being defaced.

Instead of restoring the website and resolving the security problems, the site has simply been removed from the web.

Internet users trying to visit the ‘population.gov.za’ website are greeted with a “SITA Inverse Web Proxy Server” message saying that “the requested URL could not be retrieved”.

National Population Unit’s website message
National Population Unit’s website message

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA), which hosts the sites, previously said that no government information was under threat with the security breach.

“SITA is confident of its work and capacity to secure government information and this remains the bedrock of its operations”, acting CEO Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said in a statement.

Government population website hacked
Government population website hacked message on 9 December 2012

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