Computer hacking

Virus turns the lights out in South Africa

Nomsa Maseko

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

Power grid
Getty Images
The virus affects an already compromised power supply

A virus has hit a website belonging to Johannesburg’s electricity supplier, City Power, meaning people can't buy electricity - leaving hundreds of customers in the dark.

City Power said that the virus has encrypted its entire database and network.

The company has warned residents on social media that customers won’t be able to access the website, buy electricity or upload invoices until all affected applications have been rebuilt.

The ransomware virus prevents users from accessing the system, and demands a payment in order to regain access.

Johannesburg is already prone to power cuts and the current cold weather has been putting the power supplies under strain, says the state-owned power utility Eskom.