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Liberty Holdings rejects hacker's extortion attempt after IT breach

Liberty Holdings Ltd. rejected an extortion attempt by a hacker who broke into an email server June 14 and removed messages and attachments and then demanded "compensation" for alerting the company to "potential vulnerabilities," according to media reports.

The CEO of the South African financial services firm, David Munro, said there is no evidence that its customers would suffer any financial loss after the breach and there was no evidence that client data files were compromised, Business Day reported.

A notice on Liberty's website June 18 said it had taken immediate steps to secure its systems.

The company sent text messages to clients June 16 informing them of the breach. Asked by the news website Moneyweb why the company had taken two days after the message from the hacker to alert clients, Munro said, "It took us a couple of days to get to the point where we could inform clients and understand the implications of the extortion attempts."

The attack affected Liberty's core insurance business but not its asset manager Stanlib or its businesses outside South Africa.