City of Joburg vs Tshwane security concerns

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality recently launched its “e-Tshwane” portal which lets residents view their account, lodge a complaint or query, and make payments online.

Customers have to register for the service, after which they have a full history of all accounts from registration, and payments made using the site.

Users can also receive e-mail notifications to tell them when new statements are issued, Tshwane said.

In terms of functionality, the e-Tshwane site is very similar to the City of Joburg’s e-services portal, which made headlines earlier this year due to a security flaw.

The flaw let anyone with the right URL see the invoices of any City of Johannesburg user.

With this in mind, one could see that users of such service might be extra cautious regarding the security and privacy of their data held by municipalities that offer online services.

e-Tshwane password reset

One new e-Tshwane user told MyBroadband that they registered for the service using their ID and account number.

According to this user they later received a password reset notification out of the blue, with the following instructions:

  1. Go to www.e-Tshwane.co.za and click the Login button.
  2. Enter your personal e-Tshwane login name and this temporary password: xxxxxxx
  3. Upon clicking the login button, you will be prompted to set a new e-Tshwane password.

Tshwane responds

Asked about this behaviour of its e-Tshwane system, a spokesperson for the municipality told MyBroadband that the above message is part of the process to ensure that all password change requests are authorised by the rightful account owner.

“Any attempt to have a password changed is visible to the account owner and requires some security verification before the user is able to specify a new password,” the spokesperson said. “A one-time security verification pin is also used to ensure that automated or virus related attempts are prevented as well.”

Queried about potential security flaws and whether Tshwane could provide assurances regarding its online system, it said that the solution they have chosen has a proven track record when it comes to security.

“Furthermore, the City of Tshwane has an on-going security improvement program in place to ensure that such breaches are minimized or completely eliminated,” the spokesperson said.

“We encourage all citizens and users of the system to provide all relevant feedback that will assist the City in strengthening the security of the system and help in improving Service Delivery.”

More government website security news

Anonymous “taking a long hard look” at South Africa: SAPS hacker

Eskom apologises for spying on environmental groups

City of Joburg e-Statements still offline

Big revelation in City of Joburg security flaw case

SA government requests for user info

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City of Joburg vs Tshwane security concerns