Was Airtel Nigeria hacked in the early hours of today, Monday, October 19, 2020? The answer we have shows the network was not hacked
Check your Airtel balance✊🏻❤️
— Hacker👽👾 (@iiampsticks) October 19, 2020
Ok. Did the Mobile Network Operator credit the subscribers’ line with up to 5minutes of on-net calls? The response is ‘Yes’.
Everyone else: Check your balance Airtel is giving 1k airtime.
Me as an MTN user: 💔 pic.twitter.com/jOfF4ffOkN
— débọ́lá the 2nd✌️#EndSARS (@ogbeni_ceejay) October 19, 2020
So, what actually happened?
TechEconomy.ng’s investigations show that Airtel Nigeria was never hacked over the weekend as insinuated and reported in some sections of the (social) media platforms (TechEconomy.ng) excluded.
An impeccable source working for Airtel Nigeria told TechEconomy.ng that the operator was following regulatory provisions and in line with its customer-centric nature by compensating the subscribers over poor Quality of Service or network distortion that occurred on October 16, 2020.
To this end, Airtel decided to credit (some) subscribers with air time worth of N1000 as compensation for the service disruption and others may receive 100MB of data valid for one day too.
Yeaterday Dstv channels were all showing free, my neighbor confirmed hers but my case was different.
Now this morning Airtel is giving free airtime, my mum and younger sister have gotten theirs, still my case is different. Who did I offend?😭😭
You see why we must #EndSARS
— Nora Stone👑 (@EdoFirstLady) October 19, 2020
A Short Messaging System (SMS) sent by telco to subscribers reads:
“Dear Customer, we apologise for the recent service disruption experienced on October 16. Normal service has since been restored with 100MB of data valid for 1 Day. Thank you for choosing Airtel”.
But, TecEconomy.ng’s further investigations show that not all subscribers received the SMS hence the insinuations that hackers have penetrated the network.
Recall, that hackers called Anonymous have claimed responsibility for the shutdown of websites belonging to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the First Bank of Nigeria, DSTV/GOtv, among others. However, these establishments have come out to deny that their websites were penetrated by the hackers.
Back to Airtel Nigeria’s story. Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported that major mobile network operators (MNOs) in the country recorded 9,077 cases of service outages on their networks in the second quarter of the year, resulting in unexpected disruptions to operators’ network quality of service (QoS) delivery and intermittent quality of experience (QoE) by the consumers.
ALSO READ: Did ‘Anonymous’ actually hack DSTV?
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, disclosed this in a presentation delivered during the first Virtual Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) hosted by the Commission recently in Abuja.
According to Adewolu, of the 9,077 service outages recorded by the operators, 3,585 were caused by incidences of denial of access to telecoms sites for maintenance, 4,972 were triggered by incidences of fibre cuts from construction activities and vandalism while 520 cases were as a result of incidences of generator and battery theft at sites.
Adewolu, however, noted that in a proactive step to mitigate the challenges, the Commission had swiftly responded by taking some major decisions to mitigate any unforeseen challenges that may cause serious disruptions in service delivery to the consumers throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “the Commission approved resource sharing by operators throughout the period of COVID-19 pandemic.” These include fibre optic cables and other resources in the event of cable cuts and other unforeseen developments.
“We also ensured that the service providers meet the needs of their teeming consumers by securing Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications officials and staff for easy movement during the lockdown. This was to ensure ease of movement to service base stations and other telecom facilities and equipment,” among others.
Therefore, this medium concluded that Airtel Nigeria’s move was to basically to express ‘sorry’ to the customers and a subtle way to escape the sledge hammers of the industry regulator.