Armscor wants criminal prosecution of its website hackers


Armscor, the government defence and security acquisition agency, is not going to let those who hacked its website off lightly and a criminal investigation is underway.

“The hacking of state information is a criminal activity and is strongly condemned. Investigations are now underway to bring the culprits to book and criminal prosecution will be sought once sufficient evidence has been gathered,” Lulu Mzili, general manager: marketing and business development, said.

The hack apparently took place over the weekend of July 9 and 10 and Armscor was quick to point out “no sensitive and classified content was affected”.

A team of “cyber experts” was convened to conduct a forensic analysis to determine the full extent of the incident and recommend way of preventing further, similar, hacks.

In this regard she said: “As an acquisition agency, Armscor prides itself on the robustness of its procurement process and its adherence to the highest international standards of corporate governance as regards all its systems including the appointment of suppliers. All invoice payments are only made against valid contracts.
“The illegal accessing of supplier information undermines the integrity of Armscor’s confidentiality responsibility towards it stakeholders and the matter is viewed in a very serious light.”

She added the preliminary investigation into the data breach confirmed no classified information was accessed and security measures on the website have now been increased.
“Classified defence information remains highly secured and protected,” she said.

The site’s tender bulletin portal is one of the still affected sections. With the products and services, news and events and about us portals all operating normally again.

According to the hackread website “the operation OpAfrica has found another victim. This time it’s the Pretoria-based arms procurement agency, Armscor. The breach can be labelled as a massive hack because Armscor is the official arms procurement agency of the SA Department of Defence”.
“The hacktivist behind this hack is the same one who previously hacked two Israeli arms importers and leaked client details in public for operation OpIsrael. This time the hacker has chosen the dark net to leak 63 MB data in HTML files that includes invoice numbers, order numbers, invoice amounts, etc. of Airbus, Thales, Rolls Royce, EADS and Denel, among others.”

Data from Siemens, Boeing, BAE Systems, Panasonic, Glock and Microsoft was also obtained.

The hacked data was put online on July 10.

The site added the hacktivist had gained access to 19 938 suppliers IDs, names and plant text passwords using “a simple SQL injection”. These passwords allow anyone to log in to Armscor as a supplier or manager.

The hackers are believed to be linked to Anonymous. Hacktivists calling themselves Anonymous Africa last month hacked the SABC website as well as those linked to the Gupta family in what they said was their targeting of corrupt governments. Hackers also published data from Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late April, and various African nations have been targeted by hackers, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.