UK phone providers struck by cyber-attack

News / UK phone providers struck by cyber-attack

UK phone providers struck by cyber-attack

Described as an “unprecedented” by Industry body Comms Council UK, a series of pre-planned, co-ordinated cyber-attacks against voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services have left the industry reeling. 

Commenting on the situation in an interview with the BBC, a spokesperson acting on behalf of Comms Council UK said that the series of attacks on UK firms “appear to be part of a co-ordinated extortion-focused international campaign by professional cyber-criminals". 

Whilst being unable to disclose the gravity of the situation in terms of how many companies had been affected, the spokesperson was able to divulge that the cyber-attacks were DDos constructs. 

DDos – denial of service – attacks consist of a network or domain being overloaded with traffic and requests which aim to slow and eventually take a site offline – denying service.  

In addition to the destructive effects of DDos attacks, the spokesperson highlighted the very real possibility that the denial of services attacks could soon be coined with ransomware attacks. 

"Ransom threats have been made to numerous providers and an overall threat has been made to the entire industry. The attackers have started down that path, with attacks under way." 

A ransomware attack consists of a site or sensitive data being held hostage until a ransom is paid to the hijackers. There is of course no guarantee that the hostage situation will be resolved following the payment of the ransom and as such the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidelines suggest that businesses should never comply with demands.  

Comms Council UK states they are in contact with the government, NCSC and Ofcom in their attempts to mitigate further attacks and resolve the current cyber crisis that has rocked the telecommunications industry. 

Speaking to the BBC, a member of Ofcom confirmed the partnerships being forged as a result of the attacks.  

“We're aware that some networks have been experiencing problems recently. We are in contact with them to establish the scale and cause of the problem, and also liaising closely with the UK Government and National Cyber Security Centre." 

"We have never seen anything like it since we were established back in 2004," the Comms Council UK spokesperson concluded. Whilst there have yet to have been notable repercussions as a direct result of the attacks, the services affected could stretch to affect important communications systems that are actively used in the UK for contacting the police, or the NHS.

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