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Malawi’s passport system gets compromised by cyber-attack

By , ITWeb Africa Malawi correspondent
Malawi , 23 Feb 2024
President Lazarus Chakwera.
President Lazarus Chakwera.

President Lazarus Chakwera this week announced a major breach in Malawi's national security after hackers gained control of the country's passport printing infrastructure, demanding an undetermined ransom.

Addressing Parliament in Lilongwe on Wednesday, he revealed this in response to concerns raised by Member of Parliament for Blantyre City South East Sameer Suleman, who called for a cabinet reshuffle due to the situation.

President Chakwera acknowledged Malawians' unhappiness with the inability to obtain passports, but rejected Sulema's proposal for a cabinet reshuffle, citing a lack of comprehension of the situation.

As an interim remedy, Chakwera directed the Department of Immigration to accelerate passport printing within three weeks while also adopting additional security measures for long-term protection.

The Malawian leader issued a severe message to the hackers and any accomplices within the state machinery, stating that the government would never agree to ransom demands or engage with criminals.

He announced continuous investigations to find and prosecute the offenders without mercy.

Malawians have been having difficulty obtaining passports since the beginning of the year, causing applicants to become desperate.

Director general of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, Charles Kalumo, acknowledged citizens' concerns but was unable to propose a date for passport issuance to resume.

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