UK internet phone providers hit by major cyberattacks

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Industry body Comms Council UK has dubbed the recent spate of cyberattacks against UK-based voice over internet protocol (VoIP) as "unprecedented," adding the assaults pose a threat to the entire industry. 

Speaking to the BBC, a Comms Council UK spokesman said that while he can’t specify how many firms were affected, he can confirm that several of its members had been targeted by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in recent weeks.

In the past, DDoS attacks were usually used to knock websites offline. However, the recent spate of attacks against the VoIP providers have been conducted in the hopes of extorting money from the companies, taking the form of ransomware attacks.

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Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, said it was aware of the situation.

Coordinated attack

In a statement, Comms Council UK said that the DDoS attacks on UK-based VoIP firms that have taken place in the last four weeks "appear to be part of a co-ordinated extortion-focused international campaign by professional cyber-criminals.”

The telecommunication industry body shared that it has raised the issue with the UK government, Ofcom, as well as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

"We have never seen anything like it since we were established back in 2004," stressed the Comms Council UK spokesman. 

In the UK, VoIP providers offer internet-based calls to a range of customers, including businesses as well as public services, such as the police and NHS. While the attacks haven’t yet caused any debilitating issues, if unchecked, they do have the potential of disrupting the current remote working environments by adversely affecting internet-based communication platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.