The move effectively has seen all local servers going offline, including the the public HIT website , they host locally as they try to salvage the situation, and it was not clear whether this was caused from a remote attack, local intrusion, by time of publishing.
HIT Communications and International Relations Director, Mr. Tinashe Mutema confirmed the incident saying they are working tirelessly to return to normalcy.
“We have been hit by Ransomware. We have pulled down all the servers including that involve the internal websites and external website. All efforts are being put to restore the service. Meanwhile we are investigating how we got attacked,” he said.
The WannaCry ransomware attack was a worldwide cyberattack by the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
HIT is among the websites that have been ransacked by the hackers in Zimbabwe. The institution was given six days to pay up the ransom.
“Hackers are real. Monsters are real too. They live inside us and sometimes they win. Pay the ransom or lose all the universities data!!! Owned by Last Life Hackers. Encrypted all the staff and student emails. Encrypted all university records. Encrypted all files, student photos, financial records…We own you HIT,” read the demand.
ICT Postal and Cuurier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira while addressing the Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies workshop on Cyber Security noted the importance of having a central cyber-incident management centre, where cybercrimes will be reported.
The centre Mandiwanzira said, will gather warnings and investigate issues to do with cybercrime.
“It is important and it is part of the ITU’s [International Telecommunication Union] mandate to assist regions and countries to have computer instant response centres to ensure that where there are attacks on the cyber space, they are reported. For instance, where a bank is attacked, it has to be reported instantly and warnings sent out to other institutions,” he said.