KAMPALA: National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) says it is in the process of recovering some of its critical data lost last Thursday after hackers gained access to their IT system.
Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, Mr Silver Mugisha, the corporation’s managing director, said their servers were disabled by malware (malicious software) affecting their operations.
Mr Mugisha said they last week discovered that their internally-developed IT systems for human resource management, customer care, procurement and inventory management were attacked.
“We carried out an initial assessment and the immediate findings revealed that some of the servers had been affected by malware and could not function as required. We reverted to the data recovery site for business continuity of the critical systems, especially customer services,” he said.
He said they have also engaged an independent IT forensic security expert to establish the cause of the mishap.
“Their findings will guide NWSC on short, medium and long term strengthening measures to counter such an occurrence in future,” he said.
Asked which systems were affected, Mr Mugisha said the financial management system, whose reconciliation statement still had the data until May 16, the human resource management system for leave application, e-procurement and e-inventory systems.
Asked whether they suspect in-house foul play, he said he could not speculate until the forensic report is out.
“But I am aware that most sound institutions always outsource the management of their information security systems because however good the information security management systems of such organisations may be, there can always be that one wrong element who can decide to malice the systems when they have been angered,” he said.
Last week, sources close to the corporation, who remained anonymous to speak freely, said the failure of the IT system nearly crippled the operations of the corporation.
Unconfirmed reports said hackers demanded a ransom to release the information.
When asked yesterday whether the affected systems serve only Kampala, Dr Mugisha told journalists that all their information is controlled in a central pool at the headquarters. He called for calmness, adding that all customers’ payment records were up to date and accurate.
He said they would be reading their meters manually and a copy of the information from the meter is shared with their servers, with hope that the digital operations will be fully restored next week.