Pelephone rules out cyberattack as cause for breakdown

Company says network component failed, plans to compensate customers; class action filed against company for lost service.

Pelephone370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon on Monday ruled cyber-attack out as a possible cause of the nearly four-hour break in the company’s phone and texting services Sunday night, and promised to compensate its customers.
“We completely reject that possibility,” he said when asked about the possibility of cyber-attack in an interview with Army Radio. “We haven’t identified a single suspicion of that kind of infiltration.”
According to the company, it is still investigating the malfunction that brought down its services from the hours of 7:05 p.m. until around 11:00 p.m. Sunday night. It was quick to point out that its data services remained intact, allowing Pelephone customers unable to make phone calls or send text messages to rely on Internet applications such as WhatsApp and Viber to communicate.
“Apparently there was failure in one of the network components,” he explained to Channel 2 Monday morning. “Company engineers in the control center scanned each component until they found the problematic one.”
“The handling of the breakdown made a quick solution in a reasonable amount of time possible. In the end, we neutralized part of the network, and the whole network was able to recover quickly. The cause of the breakdown has not yet been found, only its area, which has been neutralized,” he later explained.
The company promised to compensate customers with either 60 minutes of free calls in Israel, 60 minutes of international calls, or 500 megabytes of Internet access.
Earlier in the day, the Nagar-Tanus- Abu Medeiras law firm filed a NIS 450 million lawsuit against Pelephone in the Nazareth district court over the service interruption, requesting that the court recognize it has a class action suit.
The suit, filed on behalf of a customer named Tom Lifshitz, requested NIS 100 in damages and NIS 50 in emotional damages, citing the fact that mobile communications are an integral part of daily life and their absence left him unable to make personal or work-related calls, leaving him feeling “helpless.”
Globes contributed to this report.