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Malawi restores e-passport system following hacking scare | APAnews | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker | #hacking | #aihp

Malawi’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has announced the successful completion of restoration work on the e-Passport Issuance System, ending an anxious month of compromised national security following the hacking of the system.

The department’s director general Charles Kalumo said a team of local experts from various entities had worked “around the clock” to complete the task within the 21-day timeframe set by President Lazarus Chakwera in February.

“This development means that the department’s e-passport issuance services have resumed and printing of passports will start gradually in Lilongwe this week and later on in the other regions,” Kalumo said.

The restoration of the system followed a period of downtime during that Chakwera attributed to hacking by “digital mercenaries”.

The Malawian leader told parliament in February that the hackers were demanding ransom from the government.

The hacking forced the immigration department to stop printing passports, with
Chakwera describing the cyberattack as a serious national security breach.

He assured the House at the time that “decisive steps to regain control of the situation” would be taken within 21 days.

Kalumo also announced that the government had reduced the e-Passport fee by 55 percent from K90,000 to K50,000 (about US$53) for ordinary passports for locally based Malawians.

This comes with a waiting processing time of 10 days when the system is fully calibrated and operating optimally.

The e-passport system was introduced in 2020 as part of the process to fully digitise operations of the immigration department.

It replaced the machine-readable passports that were previously in use with electronic passports, which have improved security features in line with global standards.



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