Friday, July 12, 2024

Passport hacked data recovered says Malawi Immigration Department

Immigration Staff

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has declared a triumphant resurgence in its quest to resurrect passport production, following the perilous invasion by nefarious ‘digital mercenaries’ that plunged its issuance system into turmoil.

In a statement released yesterday, the department unveiled a formidable alliance of information technology (IT) virtuosos hailing from the Department of e-Government, the National Registration Bureau, and the hallowed halls of the Office of the President and Cabinet, diligently collaborating to resurrect the once-faltering passport system.

Reads the statement: “There is another directive the President issued five days ago to expand the recovery team to include IT experts from Macra [Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority] and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Association of Malawi has been complied with.

“With such an army of experts working under continued vigilance of concerned Malawians, the department is confident that the goal of resuming passport printing services by the 21-day deadline set by the President is within reach.”

The department reassured that the breach in security had no bearing on the validity, integrity, or practicality of previously issued passports. During a parliamentary session in Lilongwe on February 21, President Chakwera disclosed that passport printing was halted due to a cyberattack by digital mercenaries who held the system hostage, demanding ransom. He mandated the department to devise interim solutions within three weeks while concurrently implementing long-term strategies with heightened security measures.

The genesis of passport production woes can be traced to December 2021 when Attorney General Thabo ChakakaNyirenda terminated the $60.8 million Techno Brain contract, citing alleged mismanagement by the previous administration. Despite continued production at a reduced pace until late 2023, operations eventually ceased altogether. Amidst the turmoil, suspicions were cast upon Techno Brain for potential involvement in the cyberattack.

However, in a recent statement endorsed by Techno Brain representative Nandan Gopalakrishna, the IT firm expressed solidarity with Malawi and conducted a comprehensive assessment despite relinquishing control of the system the previous year.

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