TANZANIA – Tanzania Telecommunications Company (TTCL) yesterday refuted reports that the internationally notorious hacking group Anonymous had penetrated its current cyber system and stole confidential data on over 64,000 employees.

According to the state- owned telecom company, the information dumped by ‘Hactivists’ was outdated and contained details of 2007 backwards before restructuring.

TTCL Public Relations manager Nicodemus Mushi told journalists in Dar es Salam that employees’ details that were claimed to have been exposed by hackers, including their titles, are no longer in the company’s management structure.

“Titles exposed by hackers such as senior driver, senior artisan, security guard and team member were applicable in the previous management structure that ended in 2007,” Mushi said.

Mushi explained that reports that the hackers had exposed details for over 64,000 TTCL employees were false because until Tuesday this week (February 16) the company had around 1,557 employees countrywide.

“The details for employees named in the report are not correct because some of them have died while others are retirees… for example, Katundu Iddi was a driver at the company but died in May 2012,”   Mushi revealed.

He further explained that following the reports, the company’s ICT- Security Unit embarked on investigation which proved that the state-owned telecoms firm’s computer servers and data were still safe.

“We assure our clients, including the central government and its executive agencies, major commercial banks and mobile telecommunications companies operating in the country that their details and data are secured,” Mushi reassured.

He noted that so far the company was yet to receive complaints related to the functioning of the TTCL systems. 

The ICT security manager at TTCL, Lina Rujweke, said her company took the threat seriously and the IT officials were at work in case of any cyber attack.

She said that the company was equipped with advanced technology to fight cyber crime. 

“We have been conducting training to our staff and engaging IT consultants to ensure that our systems are secure,” Rujweka said.   

On Tuesday, this week, Soft Pedia website published a report which showed that TTCL servers had been hacked, warning that details and data for its employees and clients were no longer secure.

In a statement, the Anonymous group – whose members also describe themselves as ‘hacktivists’ – said it was specifically targeting Tanzania and several other African countries for cyber attacks as part of what it calls Operation Africa (#OpAfrica).

The group said it had managed to hack central government servers and exposed details for over 64,000 TTCL employees including their real names, email addresses, telephone numbers, departments where each employee works, and their respective job titles.  

“The focus of the operation is a disassembly of corporations and governments that enable and perpetuate corruption on the African continent,” Anonymous said in its statement issued earlier this month.  

“This consists of organisations responsible for child abuse or labour as well as internet censorship within the continent and globally,” it added.

The Tanzanian government reportedly came under attack from the notorious international hacking group, which claims to have already exposed thousands of computer files at the state-run Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL).

Cyber security experts have warned that, if successful, the attack on TTCL – which manages the government’s National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) – could put the entire national economy at serious risk.

February 18, 2016; http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=89025