Image: Kazuo Ota

Largest telecom in Guam starts restoring services after cyberattack

The largest provider of mobile, television, internet and telephone services to the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands is slowly recovering from a cyberattack that brought down many of its services.

The outages started on Thursday evening, and by Friday Docomo Pacific CEO Roderick Boss confirmed that the company’s servers were attacked during a cybersecurity incident.

“Early this morning, a cyber security incident occurred and some of our servers were attacked. Immediate failsafe protocols were initiated by DOCOMO PACIFIC cyber security technicians to shut down affected servers and to isolate the intrusion,” Boss explained in a statement.

“DOCOMO PACIFIC's customer data, mobile network services, and fiber services remain unaffected, protected, and secure at this time. We are working to restore service as soon as possible.”

Scores of customers took to Facebook and Twitter to report that their phone service and internet was down.

The company published an incomplete update on Twitter Saturday evening saying some services were back online. The company did not say what services and what areas were back online and did not respond to requests for comment.

The company suggested people tether devices like laptops and tablets to their phones and use mobile data to access the internet. As of Sunday evening, several customers questioned this advice because phone service was also down.

The company later deleted a Facebook post with updates after it was inundated with angry comments from customers.

In its statement, Docomo Pacific was unable to say when service would be fully restored. The company did not respond to questions about whether it was a ransomware attack.

Nestled in between the Philippines and Micronesia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. territories with a population of more than 220,000 people.

Despite their remoteness, several Pacific islands have dealt with recent cyberattacks. The state-owned telecommunication company of Tonga was hit with ransomware last month, while the French island of Guadeloupe was attacked in November and the government of Vanuatu — about two hours by plane from Tonga — was knocked offline following a ransomware attack.

That attack crippled the operations of Vanuatu’s parliament, police and prime minister’s office while also taking down almost all of the digital tools used by the country’s schools, hospitals and government services.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.