Hackers hit Presidential Empowerment Fund

HACKERS have stolen critical data from the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund after penetrating the server where all the data regarding the operations of the fund and names of the applicants are kept, fund manager Joseph Chilinda has said.

Mr Chilinda, however, said yesterday the information technology system of the PEIF has managed to recover most of the lost data and hoped that by Monday, it would be able to restore full operation of the data system.

The PEIF is the initiative of President Edgar Lungu to empower vendors by giving them small loans to grow their businesses. It started on the Copperbelt but was now slowly covering the whole country.

Mr Chilinda said in an interview in Kitwe that he discovered that the server had been hacked into and the computer system paralysed on Thursday.

“It was on Thursday morning when we discovered that all functionalities were not working. Our preliminary investigations suggest that we have been hacked into and somebody deployed some virus in the system. With the virus we were unable to log into the system to access any information to do our work.

“Our suspicion is that whoever is behind it is aiming at destabilising the good work of the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund which is to help boost the businesses of marketeers and traders,” Mr Chilinda said.

He said marketeers and traders should not worry about the ‘‘works of some evil-minded people’’ of hacking into the main computer because it was a minor setback which the fund would soon overcome.

“Marketeers should not worry about this development because we will recover and continue to do our good works. Our IT team is working round the clock to remedy the situation and taking the opportunity to improve our security system and putting up the  state of the art firewall.

“So far the IT team has managed to recover most of the lost data and that on Monday they would be able to restore full functionality of the vital data. As I said it is a minor setback,” he said.

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