“Severe” cyberattack that brought down Ukraine’s internet service provider since the Russian invasion

Ukraine’s largest fixed-line telecommunications company Ukrtelecom was subjected to a “strong” cyber attack. Described as the worst cyberattack since the Russian invasion began in February, it sent the company’s services across the country.

This was confirmed by the Deputy Head of the State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection Viktor Jora. Forbes said the government was investigating the attack. He said it was not yet known whether Ukrtelecom, a telephone, internet and mobile provider, was the victim of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack or a deeper, more sophisticated intrusion.

The attack was only acknowledged by Ukrtelecom in response to customer comments on Facebook. In one, he responded by saying that services were down due to a “powerful cyber attack by an adversary”. When Forbes When sending a message to Ukrtelecom via Facebook, an automated response was given, “Currently, there are difficulties in using Ukrtelecom’s internet service. Our experts are doing their best to solve this problem as soon as possible.

“Due to abnormal load and problems with internal systems, operators of the contact center and Facebook are unable to process customer inquiries.”

NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages around the world, found that Ukrtelecom’s service was down as of this morning and had “collapsed to 13% of pre-war levels”.

Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, informed about this Forbes “the gradual loss of connectivity was a giveaway that there was no power or cable outage.” He wrote on his Twitter account that the attack was the most significant since the invasion of Russia.

“The new attack has deeply disrupted Ukraine’s country-wide connectivity and had a long-term and lasting impact,” he said. Forbes. “Unlike the outages and outages that occur in the hottest conflict zones, this one hit the country’s national carrier and they appear to be scrambling to mitigate the incident.”

Ukrtelecom, which claims to be “Ukraine’s largest landline operator,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. It was once a national provider but later became private as the internet market became competitive.

After the release, Jora’s office said the attack had been “neutralized” and that Ukrtelecom could resume services on Twitter: “To protect network infrastructure and continue to serve the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military units. as well as customers, Ukrtelecom has temporarily limited its services to the majority of private users and business customers.”

The cyber-warfare side of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has weakened more than expected, but it is still ongoing. Telecommunications companies have been hit by severe cyber attacks, but for the most part have escaped serious damage. whom Forbes previously reported that Triolan, a smaller ISP, suffered a breach that saw hackers factory reset some of its systems, indicating a deep network breach.

Last week, Ukraine’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) released statistics showing that the country was hit by 60 different cyber attacks. It was reported that 11 of them hit the government and local authorities, and 8 hit the military and law enforcement agencies. A total of 4 hit telecommunications and other technology companies. Most of these cyberattacks focused on data collection, although a number of “wipe” attacks aimed at destroying data on targeted computers were carried out on Ukrainian institutions.

“Despite the increasing number of attacks, most of them are not successful at all,” CERT noted. “Even those that are successful have little to no impact on critical infrastructure.”

Ukrainian telecommunications companies also have to maintain the Internet in the face of rocket attacks. Whom Forbes the story emerged, teams were going to bombed-out cities from Kharkiv to Okhtyrka during quieter hours to replace and repair equipment.

READ MORE: Ukrainian engineers struggle to keep internet alive as Russian bombs fall around them

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