Kyivstar Commences Restoration of Voice Services Amidst Cyberattack Challenges

Kyivstar Commences Restoration of Voice Services Amidst Cyberattack Challenges
Image created by Steven Alber & AI

December 14, 2023 – Kyiv, Ukraine

In a resilient response to one of the most severe cyberattacks targeting telecommunications infrastructure, Kyivstar, Ukraine's leading mobile operator, has begun the process of restoring voice services. This move comes after an unprecedented cyber onslaught that left a significant portion of its network inoperative. Oleksandr Komarov, CEO of Kyivstar, announced that the restoration commenced on Wednesday, with plans to progressively reinstate data and other services.

Kyivstar, servicing over half the Ukrainian population, encountered substantial damage during Tuesday's cyberattack. In an interview with Reuters, Komarov described the incident as "the biggest cyber attack on telco infrastructure in the world," highlighting the immense scale and impact of this digital assault.

Komarov expressed in stark terms the gravity of the situation, asserting that the attack was a calculated and long-term effort aimed at Ukraine's critical infrastructure. As a pivotal player in the nation's telecom sector, Kyivstar's disruption has widespread ramifications, affecting 24 million private consumers, numerous businesses, and key digitalized state services.

The response to this crisis involves hundreds of experts and multiple institutions, working tirelessly to bring back online services crucial to millions of Ukrainians. Komarov emphasized a phased approach to service restoration, prioritizing stability and the capacity to handle load before advancing to mobile internet services.

This incident, allegedly claimed by two Russian groups, forms part of a broader pattern where Ukraine's critical infrastructure has been systematically targeted since the Russian invasion in February 2022. Kyivstar, according to Komarov, has been at the frontline, defending against hundreds of sophisticated cyberattacks since the war's onset.

The nature of these attacks has evolved, ranging from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) to more intricate attempts at network infiltration. The recent breach, as Komarov disclosed on national television, resulted from compromised account pools, a matter currently under investigation.

In response, Ukraine's SBU security service has initiated a probe into the attack, with Kyivstar actively cooperating. Despite the challenges, the telecom giant, part of Amsterdam-listed Veon, remains committed to full service restoration. Veon has reassured that voice services are coming back online and refuted claims of customer data breach.

The path to normalcy, as Komarov conceded, will be gradual. Many clients, in the interim, have sought alternative connectivity solutions. Kyivstar, however, stands resolute in its commitment to overcoming these unprecedented challenges, leveraging its resources and expertise to ensure a cautious yet determined recovery.