South Africa’s communications minister WhatsApp account ‘hacked’

The WhatsApp account of Communications and Digital Technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been hacked, her department said in a statement on Monday (5 October).

The breach has resulted in “the access of the minister’s private and confidential information by a third-party”, the department said.

“This illegal activity has been reported to relevant authorities and platform owners for action. Obtaining and distributing information that is illegally obtained is a crime and offenders will be reported to legal authorities,” the department said.

A department spokesperson confirmed to MyBroadband that a breach had occurred.  This is the second major security incident involving a government minister in 2020.

In February, Reuters reported that mobile phones belonging to South Africa’s state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo, her deputy and several officials from the State Security Agency (SSA) were found this week to have been cloned.

Dlodlo’s spokesperson said the incident was being investigated by police. He said it was not who known who was behind the attack or if any sensitive information had been compromised.

“We don’t have further information, all we know is that the phones were cloned,” the spokesman told Reuters, adding that the cloning was discovered when individuals received texts from deputy minister Zizi Kodwa’s phone that he had not sent.

Read: This website shows how government spent money on tenders during South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown

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South Africa’s communications minister WhatsApp account ‘hacked’