Invitations, one to a birthday function for SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke and the second for a conference in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, have both been officially called hoaxes in what is a wake-up call to the SANDF that its computer security is easily compromised.
SANDF head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini urged recipients to “disregard” the invites. He is alleged to have issued the invitation for the Dubai conference, which are according to him “circulating in various social media and websites.”
“The Department of Defence and Military Veterans distances itself from the insinuations perpetuated by the invitations and urges the public to disregard them as they do not originate from any SANDF structures. People receiving the hoax invitations are requested to report them to the nearest police station,” Dlamini said in a statement.
defenceWeb was earlier this month one of the recipients of the invite to Shoke’s birthday function. It reads via an Internet link: “Dear colleagues and friends allow us to invite you to General Solly Zacharia Shoke Birthday Event” and goes on to provide venue and time details with a “formal attire preferred” clause added.
defenceWeb suspected something was fishy as the officer named for further enquiries is now part of an African Union peacekeeping mission and no longer on the personnel strength of Defence Corporate Communications.
Only time will tell whether the bogus invites are the creation of someone who has managed to access the military network or the mischievous machinations of someone with possibly a grudge against the defence force.
It is not clear how far this type of hacking or phishing goes and whether or not systems containing classified information have been compromised. The SANDF is more commonly the victim of recruitment scams.