Virgin Active, Latest Victim of a Cyberattack in South Africa

20 May

May brought with it an unhealthy surprise for Virgin Active South Africa, the country’s largest gym chain. A cyberattack on the fitness group carried out by what the company refers to as “sophisticated cybercriminals”, is the most recent attack in South Africa by modern-day hackers.

If you were struggling to access your Virgin Active account online, now you know why!

The company took all services offline while they implemented measures to protect the data of its customers. All South African branches spent a week acting on a first-come-first-serve basis, which of course, lead to a degree of disgruntlement.

While there was no indication that any data had been removed from the systems, Virgin Active told customers that clubs would be operating as normal but advised that they should remain vigilant of any suspicious activity on their accounts. Forensic experts were hard at work trying to ascertain the extent of the attack!

business as usual, kind of!

Virgin Active doors remained open, but customers had to adapt to booking classes by phone or in-person, with online workouts out of the question for some time.

Regular gym-goers used to racking up points on a weekly basis became a little concerned about what this would mean for their benefits. In an attempt of goodwill, Virgin Active reassured customers that they would be awarded the full points for the week that they would have otherwise accrued.

virgin active’s response to the latest cyberattack in South Africa?

People want answers, and while those answers are sketchy right now, one thing is evident; the security of Virgin Active customer data seems to have been a top priority and that there was no negligence involved.

The company is adamant that the security practices of the brand are top-notch and that all security audits leading up to the attack were passed. Also, all financial and banking data of customers on the system were data encrypted, which leads to a massive amount of customer relief!

While Virgin Active is still to release the full details of the cyberattack, it’s reassuring for members to know that the company followed reasonable protocols in the face of the attack. The company notified the SA Information regulator and worked closely with law enforcement to ensure that all bases were covered.

last word

Cyber experts warn that it’s only a matter of time before other companies fall prey to similar data attacks in South Africa. Businesses and individuals are advised to change their passwords frequently and to ensure that they don’t use the same password across different websites.

Were you affected by the latest Virgin Active cyberattack? Let us know how you were impacted – we’d love to know!


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