UCT is investigating a number of compromised email accounts

15 October 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is currently investigating the possible compromise of approximately 53 UCT email accounts. Our Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) helpdesk is in the process of making contact with the owners of the possibly compromised email accounts.

The university was alerted to the matter yesterday, 14 October 2020 when two phishing attempts that appeared to be sent from the Vice-Chancellor were identified. The first email is titled Mamokgethi Phakeng shared “UCT Forthcoming Projects” with you and requests that you click the provided link. The second one is titled Projects and Agenda and asks that you open the attached PDF file.

Please do not click on the email link or open the PDF file.

If you receive any of these emails or observe any suspicious activity on your UCT account, please inform the IT Helpdesk immediately by sending an email to icts-helpdesk@uct.ac.za

ICTS has blocked a number of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that may be linked to the sources of these attempts.

In an environment where many of us are working remotely and are highly dependent on online access it is essential that we are even more vigilant and take all possible steps to protect our online presence. If you have any questions about how to secure your online presence please check the ICTS and CSIRT websites for the latest alerts and further information. If you receive a suspicious email that differs to the ones identified above, please also report it to the IT Helpdesk at icts-helpdesk@uct.ac.za. You can report any other cybersecurity issues to the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at csirt@uct.ac.za.

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020.

UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


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Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

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In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”


We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.