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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘No signs of hacking’ after Telenor’s network crashed

Norway’s dominant telecoms firm Telenor set up a crisis team during the long holiday weekend, after hundreds of thousands of customers suddenly were knocked offline and couldn’t communicate on Saturday. Telenor officials now claim the problems have been fixed and they don’t think hacking was behind them.

Telenor’s headquarters at Fornebu outside Oslo was reporting that all operations were normalizing after a network breakdown on Saturday. Officials claim they have no indications that hacking was involved. PHOTO: Telenor

“The reason for the instability that some customers experienced was an error in a component in a central connection in our network,” said Telenor’s press chief Anders Krokan on Sunday. He told newspaper VG that Telenor officials were now examining the sequence of events that made it impossible to send text messages or log on to the Internet.

Krokan said the company also had its entire network under surveillance to ensure its stability. He advised customers who were still having problems to restart their routers or to put their mobile phones into flight modus (“airplane mode” on some phones) and then set them back to normal.

“That can be a good idea whether you’ve had problems or not, just to secure operations,” Krokan told VG.

The extensive network breakdown on Saturday immediately raised suspicions of hacking or sabotage, given the current political conflicts in Europe and threats from Russia. It caused serious problems not only for individual customers’ communications but also for ambulance service nationwide, home health services and payment terminals. Electric scooters were knocked out of service as were self-service stores that rely on automated payment systems. Hospitals in Oslo lost their GPS systems and weren’t able to dispatch some ambulances.

Krokan claimed there were no indications that Telenor was the victim of any hacking attempts or other forms of sabotage. The company set up a crisis team Saturday evening to deal with the probelms. Bjørn Amundsen, director of network coverage for Telenor, stressed, however, that “we always do that in the event of incidents like this.”

Most of the trouble ceased late Saturday night and mobile traffic proceeded as normal on Sunday evening. Norway is in the middle of a four-day holiday weekend, with customer service lines not expected to reopen until Tuesday morning. Telenor apologized for the trouble but said that since systems were “normalizing,” there was no need to set up special customer service lines. Berglund



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