Saturday, April 20, 2024

Malawi Suspends Passport Issuance After Cyber-Attack

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The government of Malawi has taken the drastic step of suspending the issuance of passports following a cyber-attack on the immigration service’s computer network. President Lazarus Chakwera informed Members of Parliament that the cyber intrusion constituted a grave national security breach, disclosing that the hackers responsible were demanding a ransom.

President Chakwera categorically stated that the government would not entertain the demands of the cybercriminals, emphasizing that Malawi would not negotiate with those who threaten the nation’s security. Instead, efforts are underway to address the issue and restore control over the immigration system.

“We are not in the business of appeasing criminals with public money, nor are we in the business of negotiating with those who attack our country,” President Chakwera asserted.

The suspension of passport issuance comes at a time when demand for travel documents is high in Malawi, particularly among young people seeking job opportunities abroad. President Chakwera has directed the immigration department to provide a temporary solution within three weeks to resume passport issuance while additional security measures are implemented for the long term.

This announcement follows two weeks of disruptions in passport services, initially attributed to a technical glitch. President Chakwera’s revelation of the cyber-attack sheds light on the underlying cause of the delays, although details about the hackers and potential implications for data security remain undisclosed.

The suspension of passport issuance adds to the frustrations of Malawians already grappling with backlog issues and previous disruptions in passport services. Last year, a shortage of passport booklets compounded the problem, exacerbated by foreign currency shortages. Additionally, termination of a passport contract in 2021 due to irregularities further exacerbated delays, prompting criticism of government inefficiency and corruption allegations.

In light of the suspension, individuals without valid passports or whose documents have expired face obstacles in travel plans until passport issuance resumes. The government’s response to the cyber-attack and efforts to restore normalcy in passport services are awaited anxiously by citizens affected by the disruption.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Chakwera also is just like HH….dunderhead and liar in chief…..Things are getting worse in Malawi….i remember Malawi during late Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda used to be such a great country….they had beautiful buses…stagecoach….Lilongwe used to be clean with alot of greens just like Blantyre

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    • You cannot glamorize the past and claim that those days were better. Even present days will be remembered as being better days by the toddlers of today.

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  2. @Anonymous, show me one African President that isn’t a dunderhead? One of them was hiding money in cushions and mattresses, the other is busy addressing foreign meetings when there’s a serious dry spell in his country, another is busy declaring war on his strong neighbour! Another dunderhead thinks he can come back to power. They’re just like minibus drivers and their conductors

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    • Please bear with me and help me understand sir,,,,, I am probably also a dunderhead but what’s the connection between addressing foreign meetings and dry spells?

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  3. @Anonymous and Ayatollah, seek refuge in any country of your choice. You have the right under the 1951 Geneva Convention to seek asylum owing to your well founded reasons that you can not live under any head of state who you consider unfit to rule fairly or have such fears that makes you unsafe to live under their leadership. Take fugitive Kaizar Zulu with you.

  4. Home is home and home is sweet. There’s nothing better than home. Why should I relocate just because of one dunderhead in State House? That’s being extreme.

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