Frustrated Intern Hacks Tlokweng Sub District IT System

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  • Staff  salaries affected by hacking
  • Intern shuts down IT system out of frustration
  • He wanted fulltime employment
  • He has been acting for a long time
  • Police investigating the matter

SONNY SERITE

A youthful graduate who has been on internship at the Tlokweng Sub District Council is suspected to have tampered with the Information Technology (IT) System out of frustration after the council failed to appoint him to a substantive position following months of him performing IT duties on acting appointment.
Information gathered by this publication reveals that the intern (names withheld) was working at the Tlokweng Sub District Council until his internship period came to an end on January 31.  ‘‘We had all hoped the poor guy would be given the position on a permanent basis because he was doing the job diligently,’’ an employee at the council said. This assertion was corroborated by several other council employees who said the intern was so good at his job the council had become very reliant on him. Even though his contract ended in January, the intern reportedly came to the council offices last week Thursday and thereafter the computers started malfunctioning. ‘‘He is an IT guru and therefore he became the first suspect when the system shut down just after he came to the offices,’’ a council employee told this publication.
Other reports indicate that the suspected intern went to the council’s roads department, which is housed at another location but still in Tlokweng and asked one of the officers to send him an email. Unaware that the intern was no longer an employee of the council, the roads department worker allegedly sent the email and it is suspected that was how the intern managed to hack into the system.  Several council employees were apparently called for questioning until a breakthrough was made and suspicions pointed at the intern.  The intern was reportedly interrogated by the Tlokweng police and is said to have spent the weekend in the holding cells. It is also alleged that the police failed to consider a possible charge against the intern as the cyber law is still nascent in Botswana’s jurisdiction therefore they just locked him up for questioning.
Tlokweng Police Station Commander Robson Maleka confirmed in an interview on Monday that the Police Computer Forensic department were currently investigating the case.
The Ministry of Local Government’s IT team has been on site at the Tlokweng council since last Friday trying to fix the problem which if not fixed on time, council employees might not be able to get their salaries on Wednesday as expected.  In an interview on Monday afternoon Senior Assistant Council Secretary at Tlokweng Sub District Council Stephen Motlogelwa say that they are experiencing ‘system problems’.  Asked why they involved the police in a matter that could have been solved by the ministry’s IT department if indeed it was just system problems, Motlogelwa said they just wanted to take precautionary measures because one can never know the extent of the problems and whether it was hacking or not. He admitted that council employees might get their salaries later than expected. ‘‘The IT team from the ministry is still working on the server and I have instructed that a memo be sent out to employees to inform them of the possibility they might get their salaries later than our payday which is this Wednesday.’’

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