Hawks swoop down on two suspects in connection with cyber extortion

Hawks swoop down on two suspects in connection with cyber extortion
Hawks swoop down on two suspects in connection with cyber extortion. Image source: Pixabay

The multidisciplinary team comprising of the Hawks based in Bellville, Crime Intelligence and Tactical Response Team in the Western have on Thursday,14 December 2023, arrested two suspects aged 34 and 42 for contravention of Cyber Crimes Act 19 of 2020.

The two suspects, a current employee and ex- employee of Ecentric which is an Omni channel payment solution partner that provide clients with payment processing software for in-store and online payments, allegedly loaded software onto Ecentric’s system which allowed remote access. Their actions led to an unknown person making contact with Ecentric indicating that they have compromised various aspects of Ecentric’s IT environments and demanded a ransom.

Threats were made that if the ransom is not paid all the data would be published in every platform including their gateway competitors, stakeholders and public and Ecentric Regulators.

The cyber extortion continued and the unknown person made further threats that, if the payment (US dollars converted to bitcoin) was not met action would be taken to prove the data breach and hack. Their clients ran at a loss to the amount of R794 80,51.

This was brought to the attention of the Hawks, who after prompt investigation, identified and apprehended the two suspects. They are expected to appear at Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 18 December 2023. More arrests are expected.

The Provincial Head of the Hawks in the Western Cape, Major General Makgato, applauded the efforts made by the multidisciplinary team that led to the swift arrest of the suspects.

SAPS Newsroom