Photo: Kyivstar operator faced a large-scale outage due to a hacker attack (Getty Images) Author: Danila Kramarenko
On the morning of December 12, a large-scale failure occurred at the Kyivstar mobile operator. Subscribers are complaining en masse about the lack of communication and the Internet, in addition, there are problems with the operation of ATMs and terminals.
RBC-Ukraine has collected everything that is known at the moment.
In preparing the material, we used: a statement from Kyivstar, publications of the public enterprise “Lvivsvitlo”, data from the city councils of Lviv, Rivne and Chernivtsi, an appeal from the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk Ruslan Martsinkiv, posts from local Telegram channels and the Minister of Internal Affairs Igor Klymenko, exclusive comments from the press service Ministry of Digital Transformation, Kyivstar, press secretary of PrivatBank Oleg Sergi, as well as information from RBC-Ukraine sources.
- Due to a failure, communications and the Internet do not work for Kyivstar subscribers; there are problems with ATMs and terminals
- in some cities it was necessary to manually turn off street lighting; the air raid warning system does not work
- National roaming is not available to Kyivstar subscribers
- the reason for the failure is a hacker attack
- the attack damaged the IT infrastructure, the company does not undertake to predict recovery time
Failure in the work of Kyivstar: what happened
From the very morning, Kyivstar subscribers began to complain about the lack of communication. There have also been reports on social networks that, in addition to mobile communications, wired home Internet does not work in some regions. In particular, problems were observed in Kyiv, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk regions.
Obviously, the failure also affected the company's information resources. As of 1:30 p.m., the official Kyivstar website did not open.
Photo: Kyivstar website does not work (screenshot)
It should be noted that Kyivstar is the largest Ukrainian telecommunications operator. The company provides communication and data services based on a wide range of mobile and fixed technologies.
In a November interview with Forbes, Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov said that based on the results of the first two quarters of 2023, the number of active subscribers continues to decline. Compared to 2022, the company lost about 10% of customers – the subscriber base fell from 26 million to 24.1 million.
At about 08:00, Kyivstar confirmed a technical failure; as a result, mobile communication services and Internet access were unavailable for part of the subscriber base.
“The company’s specialists are working to resolve the problem. We apologize to subscribers for the temporary difficulties and thank you for your understanding,” the company added.
Kyivstar was attacked by hackers
Ukrainian media wrote about alleged searches in the Kyivstar office, but it was not specified within the framework of what criminal proceedings. A version of a hacker attack is also spreading.
RBC-Ukraine sources confirmed that Kyivstar was attacked by hackers, so restoring communications and the Internet may take some time . This issue is under the control of relevant departments.
In the meantime, Kyivstar subscribers can use an alternative – a virtual e-SIM card from other operators. Meanwhile, Monobank has already reported that the e-SIM service was “stopped” due to too large an influx of applicants.
According to RBC-Ukraine, technical work is currently underway with other operators to prevent such situations.
In comments on the Kyivstar Facebook page, company representatives write that interference in the operation of telecommunication networks through SIM cards is completely excluded.
“We also want to emphasize that the company is cooperating with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to eliminate the possibility of a repetition of the situation in the future,” Kyivstar added.
As of 12:45 p.m., the hacker attack was confirmed by the company itself. In a commentary, RBC-Ukraine reported that on the morning of December 12, the Kyivstar network became the target of a powerful attack. And to record the interference in the work of the network, law enforcement agencies were involved and came to the office.
At the moment, it is known that the personal data of subscribers has not been compromised. And experts are working to eliminate the consequences of the hacker attack.
Subscribers who have no connection or could not use the services are promised compensation.
Updated from 14:20
As for when the connection will be restored, Kyivstar has not yet given specific dates.
“A very powerful hacker attack on the company’s virtual infrastructure. The IT infrastructure was partially destroyed. Therefore, we are still working on the issue of how long the restoration will take. That’s why we have not made any statements yet,” said CEO Alexander Komarov.
National roaming is not available to subscribers
While Kyivstar is working to fix the glitch, the Diya service advised opening the application while you have access to your home Internet or another Wi-Fi network. This will allow you to download electronic documents that can be opened without access to the Internet.
The service also advised using national roaming. This service became available during the full-scale Russian invasion. It allows you to switch between Kyivstar, Vodafone and lifecell operators without replacing a SIM card.
To do this you need:
- disable automatic selection:
on Android: Settings – Mobile network (or Connection) – Operator
on iOS: Settings – Cellular data – Network selection
- select an available network – Vodafone UA, UA-KYIVSTAR or lifecell
- if you are unable to connect, select another network
- check if you can call or send SMS
However, as it turned out, Kyivstar subscribers today cannot use national roaming.
“National roaming does not work due to the fact that the Kyivstar network cannot transmit information about its subscribers to the networks of other operators as a result of a general technical failure,” the press service of the Ministry of Digital Transformation told RBC-Ukraine.
At the same time, subscribers are reassured that this is a temporary problem. Kyivstar specialists are working on a solution, and in the near future mobile communications and Internet services will be available again.
“After solving the current problem, we will discuss with all mobile operators how we can protect ourselves from similar situations in the future and protect users from unexpected communication problems,” the Ministry of Digital Development added.
What they say about national roaming in Vodafone and lifecell
As reported by Vodafone, Kyivstar subscribers are receiving a large number of requests regarding national roaming.
“On our side, the service works correctly. At least, we see lifecell subscribers registered in our network using the national roaming service. Vodafone subscribers can also register in the network of another operator, now this is also only the lifecell network. We have already informed our colleagues about this from Kyivstar, we stay in touch and wish to return to duty as soon as possible,” the company said.
Lifecell confirms that national roaming works correctly on their part, problems are observed on the part of the Kyivstar operator.
Malfunction of ATMs and terminals
PrivatBank press secretary Oleg Serga told RBC-Ukraine that the failure at Kyivstar affected the operation of some ATMs and self-service terminals.
“Due to difficulties in the work of the Kyivstar mobile operator, some POS terminals, ATMs and self-service terminals may be unstable or have no connection,” he noted.
According to him, every effort is being made to resolve the situation and ensure the availability of all services 24/7.
Other issues: transport, light and air raid warning
As of 10:30, street lights continued to burn in Lviv. As explained at the Lvivsvitlo utility company, due to a malfunction in Kyivstar, power lines are turned off manually.
“Therefore, the hours for street lighting and emergency work may be increased,” the statement said.
There's a similar problem here. As Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said, remote switching off of lights is carried out through GSM modems, which contain Kyivstar SIM cards. Therefore, today street lighting is turned off manually. In addition, a failure in the operation of other systems, for example, DozoR City, is recorded.
“There are certain problems regarding communication and communication. Therefore, there may be various disruptions in the work of public utilities,” he added.
In this city, street lighting also continues to burn in some places. Local Telegram channels write that this is due to a failure in Kyivstar. Therefore, lights will be turned off manually where possible.
In this regional center, a failure led to the disconnection of the hotline of the Rivne City Council. Currently, mobile numbers 1553 and 096-333-15-53 are temporarily not working.
Calls are accepted to landline numbers 1553, 63-63-95, 26-67-68, as well as to mobile numbers 099-333-15-53.
In Chernivtsi, there may be problems with paying for travel on public transport through a validator. But only when using a bank card or smartphone with NFC.
“Trips will be registered, but fares will be debited only after the network is restored,” the city council added.
Due to a malfunction in the mobile operator, there are also problems with automatically turning off street lighting. Workers at the Misksvitlo utility company are gradually doing this manually.
In addition, as stated in the Sumy City Council, the air raid warning system is temporarily not working in the territory of the territorial community.
“While the mobile operator’s specialists are eliminating technical faults, notification of the community during an air raid will be carried out by patrol police and the State Emergency Service,” the city council added.
A malfunction of Kyivstar does not affect the operation of the air raid warning system. Even in the event of a power outage, part of the system will operate autonomously.
At the same time, in the places where the old part of the system is installed, if there is no light, the patrol police will notify about the siren through loudspeakers.
As for paying for travel in the Kiev metro, it is carried out as usual.
Emergency numbers are working as normal
The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Igor Klimenko reassures: despite the technical failure , calls to emergency numbers 101, 102 and 112 are available to Kyivstar subscribers.
“If you need urgent help – contacting your loved ones or calling emergency services – contact the nearest police department or fire and rescue department,” he added.
In addition, you can ask for help from the National Guard, police and border guards who serve in populated areas and on the roads. You can also use Wi-Fi in the invincibility points deployed on the basis of the Ministry of Internal Affairs units.
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