Virgin Active SA Suffers Cyber-Attack

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The South African arm of fitness group Virgin Active has been targeted by "sophisticated cyber-criminals."

The company took all its computer systems offline after being targeted by cyber-criminals on Thursday. Late on Friday, Virgin Active warned clients of the attack by posting a message on its website.

“Virgin Active South Africa became aware of a cyberattack yesterday and our security teams immediately started working with cybersecurity experts to carefully contain, manage and investigate the cyber event,” the message read.

The company's 136 health clubs remain open while Virgin Active IT staff work behind the scenes to determine the nature and extent of the attack. With computer systems down, the fitness facilities are operating on a "first come, first served" basis. 

Virgin Active is yet to reveal what kind of attack it was subjected to; however, the company said that no data had been removed by unauthorized third parties.

“While we take the necessary steps to protect data, we have been targeted by sophisticated cybercriminals," said Virgin Active.

"As a precautionary measure, we have taken all systems offline while we resolve this. Our clubs are operating as normal and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience while we address this event.” 

The company said that it had notified South Africa's Information Regulator “as a precaution” and is working with law enforcement to bring about a return to normal operations.

In an FAQ published online, Virgin Active emphasized that the attack was not the result of sloppy security practices.

"We have passed security audits and all our data is protected. In addition, all financial and banking data has been encrypted," stated the company.

Addressing what if any data had been compromised, Virgin Active said: "All our customer data is protected and, at this point in time, we are not aware of any data expropriation. As a precautionary measure, we have taken all systems offline while we work to resolve this."

The company added that they were still "unsure as to the extent of the cyberattack" as "an investigation being done by forensic experts" remained ongoing.

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