Ukraine: These telecom technicians are the capeless superheroes of war

The eyes of the world are on the war in Ukraine. While thousands of soldiers and volunteers repel the Russian invasion, a group of telecommunications technicians risk their lives to keep connectivity afloat in the country.

Considered “invisible heroes” by the Government, the technicians — mostly employees of mobile operators and internet companies — restore service outages caused by the bombings and Russian sabotage.

According to the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP), technicians travel to conflict zones to repair damaged cables or mobile stations . “

Despite the great danger they quickly repair and restore communication channels destroyed by the enemy, so that each Ukrainian has access to up-to-date information on the state of affairs and communicates with his relatives.

The work of these specialists it doesn't boil down to that. Technicians also mount channels in shelters, underground parking lots and other places where civilians are protected from Russian bombardment.

There is no competition between operators during the Ukraine war

The Government of Ukraine knows that the union is important for victory, so now there is no competition between the various providers. The SSSCIP posted on its Telegram channel some images to show the teamwork between operators in the Chernigov region.

Employees of two local operators repair a cable in Chernigov. SSSCIP photo

This is how the main cable was restored by two small local providers, Gigabit.net and brd.net.ua (sworn competitors in peacetime,) so that the Chernigov region was connected again!

Keep telecommunications online a priority in times of war. According to reports from NetBlocks, since the beginning of the Russian invasion there has been a drop in connectivity. The intense bombardments and attacks against the communications infrastructure have worsened the situation, forcing the country to look for alternatives.

A few weeks ago the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, asked Elon Musk for help to activate the Starlink service in the country. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX responded and sent hundreds of antennas, although he warned that they should be activated only if necessary.

Cyberattacks threaten the integrity of telecommunications

Another problem facing Ukraine is the wave of cyberattacks coming from Russia. While Microsoft and other actors support the Government of Volodímir Zelenski to identify and deal with digital threats, the Security Service (SBU) works with the operators to track hackers.

Forbes reported on attacks on various companies in this sector. Hackers reset Triolan's systems to factory settings, causing disruption to telecommunications services. Although there are no reports of a critical failure, some local companies are targeted by cyberattacks and use their technicians to restore connectivity.

The Security Service of Ukraine arrested a hacker with the help of the companies of telecommunications. Photo: SBU

The collaboration between the Government and the telecommunications companies has already borne fruit. The SBU confirmed the arrest of a person who called and texted dozens of Ukrainian public officials and security agents proposing a surrender. The hacker made more than a thousand calls and provided key information to Russian soldiers participating in the invasion.

Victor Zhora, director of the SSSCIP, told a press conference that this war is the first case in history where the importance of maintaining telecommunications is high. “This probably explains why Ukraine continues to successfully resist aggression,” he commented.