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Riots and Transnet cyberattack ring alarm bells

The degree to which food security was compromised by the recent riots and the cyberattack on Transnet’s harbours is not yet clear. What is apparent is the potential for major disruptions of the food chain, with implications across South Africa.

The July looting stopped food and animal feed movements in parts of the country and brought Durban harbour to a halt, affecting both imports and exports. Then the cyberattack crippled all of the country’s ports for a while. While Transnet says operations are back to normal, the backlogs in the food supply chain are a reminder that it could have been so much worse.

Ransomware attacks, freezing computer systems and demanding huge sums to unlock them, have become a feature of the technological world.  Every part of the food chain, in both the public and private sectors, is at risk.

They will all be looking at heightened cyber security measures in the light of Transnet’s experience.

Image: Transnet’s Ngqura Container Terminal, northeast of Gqeberha, is the newest and deepest container port in the country. Courtesy of Transnet.