Papua New Guinea Ministry of Finance suffers ransomware attack, affected payments system

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The Papua New Guinea Ministry of Finance has been attacked by a Ransomware infiltration forcing all systems to shut down. The hackers who infiltrated the system demanded a large sum of money before they could restore the system. However, according to the country’s Finance Minister Sir John Pundari, the financial system has been restored without paying any money to hackers. He issued the following statement after the cyberattack.

Sir John Pundari,

The government’s financial system suffered a cyberattack in the form of ransomware infiltrating our main server at 1:00 a.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021. Due to the infiltration of the ransomware, the computer network of the Department of Finance was compromised. The ministry immediately took precautionary measures by shutting down the grid systems.

The ministry has now managed to completely restore the system, but due to the risk, we are playing it safe by not allowing full use of the affected network. As we progress in cleaning up the server environment, we have put in place temporary measures to monitor user activity on the network. These include all government departments and agencies with access to validation and processing checks using a controlled environment within Vulupindi Haus.

All provinces and districts will also have access to pledge funds, under a controlled environment as a temporary arrangement.

The Department is aware of the security and integrity of its data. Therefore, the restoration of services to all government agencies, including the sub-national level, will be done gradually with additional layers of security to prevent similar attacks in the future, keeping individual network security in mind.

At this point, I want to make it clear that the government’s financial system has been fully restored. The Ministry of Finance did not pay any ransom to the hacker or any of its third party agents.

We have successfully restored the online financial management system. The government and people of Papua New Guinea can rest assured that all levels of government financial services will continue to function as usual.

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