Traffic at major Ukrainian internet service provider Ukrtelecom disrupted

Web traffic from major Ukrainian internet service provider Ukrtelecom was disrupted Monday, causing one of the most widespread internet outages in the country since Russian troops invaded late last month.

Ukrainian government officials attributed the disruption to a cyberattack.

Global network monitors, including NetBlocks and Kentik, flagged traffic disruptions involving the provider Monday. “On Monday 28 March, a major cyberattack on Ukraine’s national provider Ukrtelecom triggered an extended, nation-scale network disruption,” according to a report from NetBlocks. “The incident has progressively intensified over the course of the day, causing an increasing number of subscribers to fall offline.”

Ukrtelecom confirmed to The Record that “technical problems affected most of its users” and the company was working to restore service. 

Ukrtelecom is a former state-owned telecommunications provider, now controlled by Ukraine’s richest person Rinat Akhmetov, that boasted more than ​​200,000 fixed broadband subscribers as of early 2021, according to local reports. 

In a recent interview before the latest incident, Ukrtelecom chief technical officer Dmytro Mykytiuk told The Record that thousands of its employees were working — some amidst Russian military bombardment — to repair physically broken lines. 

Ukrtelecom previously suffered traffic disruptions on ​​March 8 and March 10, as The Record reported. Those disruptions were fairly short. 

Triolan, an Ukrainian internet services provider collective, suffered a more extensive outage around March 10 which took days for traffic levels to recover from. Triolan blamed the incident on a cyberattack, the second it said it had suffered since the invasion. 

The current war has simultaneously played out in the physical world and online — where digital diplomacy, disinformation, misinformation, and hacktivists offensives all depend on online access

Daryna Antoniuk contributed reporting to this story. This story has been updated with additional reporting since first publication. 

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

(they/them) is a longtime cybersecurity journalist who cut their teeth covering technology policy at ThinkProgress (RIP) and The Washington Post before doing deep-dive public records investigations at the Project on Government Oversight and American Oversight.