Cyberattack causes Docomo outage
Businesses struggle to cope with unavailability of credit card machines
Docomo Pacific subscribers in the CNMI were bereft of internet service last Friday and Saturday after a cyberattack was perpetrated against the telco’s servers.
A Friday new release from Docomo Pacific president and CEO Roderick Boss confirmed the attack. “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. 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,” he said.
Following the cyberattack, Docomo Pacific, which is a subsidiary of Japan’s NTT Docomo, said customers were encouraged to utilize their mobile data to tether other devices such as laptops and tablets at no additional cost, as the time of restoration, at that time, was still unknown.
Aside from the internet disruption, there was no immediate word from Docomo Pacific on the exact nature of the cyberattack or where it originated from.
As of yesterday morning, some services have slowly been returning to normal functions and a number of subscribers already had their internet connectivity restored.
“Services are slowly coming online as services are restored. Our top priority at this moment is getting everyone back online and working on post-restoration efforts after that,” said Docomo Pacific Public Relations manager Jared Roberto.
Docomo Pacific went on to say in its press release that updates will be posted on their social media. For more information or to discuss your service in detail, call Guam 671-688-CARE or CNMI 670-488-CARE.
Docomo Pacific CNMI brand manager Brett Deleon Guerrero confirmed yesterday that internet and mobile phone services were finally restored at 2pm last Saturday. He also added that the telco will compensate subscribers who lost services during the outage.
CNMI customers understandably were frustrated and upset with the internet outage.
Attorney Michael White, of The Law Offices of Michael A. White, LLC, said his work has been interrupted, with internet being unavailable.
“I am critically dependent on email. I haven’t had any since yesterday (Friday)… I don’t know if anything Docomo could do could compensate for the damage they have caused,” he said.
Businesses like restaurants also had to turn away customers who don’t have cash or have them pay at a later date as their credit card machines are dependent on the internet.
Plumeria Steakhouse general manager Steve Jang said his establishment not being able to accept credit cards has hurt his restaurant the past two days.
“I’m not sure of other businesses but the concept and procedures are all the same. Nowadays people use credit cards for means of payment and if the internet is not doing their services, then it’s cash or IOU’s (I owe you). …I don’t like my customers walking out of my establishment for whatever reasons. …As much as possible, I’d like to accommodate. …All I can say is that this internet trouble has hurt me as about 40% of my business has been down from my normal revenue,” he said.
BAB Korean Restaurant’s Dante Suarez Conlu said their business has also been affected, saying that 65% of their customers use credit cards.
The past two days, he allowed customers who didn’t have cash to dine-in with the promise of paying them back later.
“We’re very considerate so we allowed them to eat then pay later,” while admitting that out of 10 customers who were allowed this gesture only one usually doesn’t come back, saying “maybe they just forgot.”
Bravo Kitchen & Bar owner Adrian Ruan said his Garapan restaurant also had to endure the outage.
“Yes, no signal, resulting in inability for use by guests. Sometimes it works…Said to be ‘waiting, under maintenance!’ “We’re affected, but many guests have expressed their understanding. However, having to pay in cash is a big deal for me. …It’s been very embarrassing,” he said.
Like Conlu and Jang, Ruan said he also resorted to IOUs as a way to mitigate the unavailability of credit card machines.
“I can only record identities and credit cards. Sometimes after waiting for 10 minutes, there is a little signal, and the card reader can’t be used. We will just charge their credit cards when there is internet,” he said, while adding that he’s already up to $200 on this type of credit arrangement.