Ukrainian telecom company's internet service disrupted by 'powerful' cyberattack

The incident is the latest hacking attack against Ukrainian internet services since Russian military forces invaded in late February.

Hands are seen on a keyboard in front of a displayed cyber code in this picture illustration taken October 4, 2018 (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
Hands are seen on a keyboard in front of a displayed cyber code in this picture illustration taken October 4, 2018
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

Ukraine's state-owned telecommunications company Ukrtelecom UTLM.PFT experienced a disruption in internet service on Monday after a "powerful" cyberattack, according to Ukrainian government officials and company representatives.

The incident is the latest hacking attack against Ukrainian internet services since Russian military forces invaded in late February.

"Today, the enemy launched a powerful cyberattack against Ukrtelecom’s IT-infrastructure," said Yurii Shchyhol, chairman of the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine. "The attack was repelled. And now Ukrtelecom has an ability to begin restoring its services to the clients."

"Currently, the attack is repulsed, the provision of services is gradually resumed," said Ukrtelecom spokesperson Mikhail Shuranov.

NetBlocks, which monitors internet service disruptions, posted on Twitter earlier on Monday that it saw "connectivity collapsing" with an "ongoing and intensifying nation-scale disruption."

VISUAL DEPICTION OF A HACKER (credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)VISUAL DEPICTION OF A HACKER (credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A similar incident took place earlier this month with Triolan, a smaller Ukrainian telecom company, Forbes previously reported. That company suffered a hack that reset some internal systems, resulting in some local subscribers losing access.

Ukrtelecom had said in a statement earlier in the day that there had been "temporary difficulties with the installation of new Internet sessions for Ukrtelecom customers."

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its neighbor. Kyiv and the West consider this a pretext for an unprovoked invasion to try to topple the elected Ukrainian government.