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The attack affected the company’s 4G/5G network, TV, and SMS services.

Vodafone Portugal announced on Tuesday that it had undergone a cyberattack that caused network disruptions across the country.

Vodafone Portugal’s CEO said on Tuesday that a cyber-attack on the company was “a criminal act” that was “clearly” to put the network out of action. The goal, he said, was “to make [it] as difficult as possible” to use the company’s services.

The attack, discovered on Monday night, impacted the 4g/5g network, TV, voice services, and SMS services provided to more than seven million people. While the company was able to restore 3G services, others remained impacted. It even affected the ATM network of some large banks connected to the Vodafone 4g network.

The attack paralysed the country

An ATM network operated by the country’s biggest banks reported issues due to the cyberattack on Vodafone Portugal, according to the Publico newspaper. A Vodafone spokesperson confirmed that the ATMs were down because of the outage, noting that the ATMs had connected to their 4G service. 

“[It was] a targeted attack on the network, with the purpose, surely voluntary, intentional to leave our customers without any service,” said Mário Vaz at a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Parque das Nações, Lisbon. “The aim of this attack was clearly to make our network unavailable and with a level of severity to make the level of services as difficult as possible.”

Vaz described the cyber-attack as a “terrorist” and “criminal” act and said that everything that “was undone” is being “redone” but that it would be “a lengthy job”.

The company said they hoped to restore the rest of services on Tuesday, but “with a high degree of uncertainty”.

But Vodafone did not respond to requests for comment about whether the cyberattack was a ransomware incident. The company serves more than 7 million customers with mobile service as well as home and business internet.