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Lyca Mobile UK Confirm Cyber Attack Responsible for Disruption

Tuesday, Oct 3rd, 2023 (5:55 pm) - Score 17,352
Lyca Mobile 2021 Logo

Mobile operator Lyca Mobile, which is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) on EE’s platform, has this afternoon revealed that the reason for their recent UK service (i.e. calls and texts not working for some customers) and support problems (here) is because the network has “been the victim of a cyber attack“.

Just to recap. Customers began noticing problems last Friday (around midday), with many reporting that they’d been unable to make mobile calls or send text (SMS) messages, while others struggled to contact customer support or to top up their credit via Lyca’s website. The connectivity problems in particular were quite sporadic, affecting some users but not others.

The operator was slow to respond, but they did eventually acknowledge the issue with a big statement on the front page of their website, while adding that they were “working hard to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and we thank you for your patience.”

Following investigations carried out as a result of this disruption to their network, the operator has now revealed that Lyca Mobilehas been the victim of a cyber attack“.

Lyca Mobile’s Statement

We first became aware of issues over the weekend, which were preventing customers and retailers from accessing top-ups through our channels. It also impacted some national and international calling. The issues affected all Lyca Mobile markets apart from the United States, Australia, Ukraine and Tunisia.

Our focus on our customers is paramount. We are working around the clock to ensure that the impact on them is minimised.

Our number one priority is ensuring the safety and security of our customers’ data, and we are urgently investigating whether any personal information may have been compromised as part of this attack. We are confident that all our records are fully encrypted, and we will keep customers updated on the outcome of our investigation as we work with our expert partners to establish the facts.

As part of our rapid incident response, we have engaged 3rd party technical expertise to complement our internal expertise. Additionally, we are in close contact with the relevant regulatory and law enforcement authorities in each of our impacted markets, ensuring we fulfil all our obligations.

The operator added that the mobile telecommunication services affected by this attack have “now been restored in all of our markets“, although they noted that “there are some operational services that are yet to be fully resolved” and they’re “working hard to restore all functionality across all countries as quickly as possible“.

At this stage it’s unclear whether any data was stolen and, encrypted or not, customers will naturally be worried about the possible implications of this breach. Not to mention that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will undoubtably be taking an interest if any breach has occurred. Hopefully Lyca will be in a position to update customers with more detail in the near future.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
75 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Bob says:

    Still can’t recieve calls from Lyca

    1. Avatar photo Nathan says:

      I still can’t do anything! lol

  2. Avatar photo Tom J says:

    This is very worrying that a hacker could gain access to such a critical part of their operation – as in the calling and texting.

    I think it would be more reassuring if the only thing they gained access to is customer data, not the network core.

    1. Avatar photo Mark says:

      Yes, communications are meant to be a critical highly secure service. This is not good, I hope no data was stolen. I was with them the other month so hope by bank card details etc haven’t gone walkies!!

    2. Avatar photo Nathan says:

      I think you mean critical as in stable, telephony has never been secure, anybody with a SS7 gateway can surveil you.

    3. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Probably isn’t the platform that interfaces with EE. It’s more likely to affect the platform that says if you have credit/have paid a bill etc, which I’d imagine is why they’re having such difficulty (Customer data). I’m wondering if they have separate instances in those territories unaffected (e.g. local laws?)

      Would explain why service stops and they seem to be struggling to contact users (especially new). Would be interesting to see if there’s a public post mortem once it’s done, I’m sure other MVNO will be watching closely.

  3. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    Odd that, russian hackers took the royal family’s website off for 1 hour and also sent threats to the NHS as well

    1. Avatar photo CuiBono says:

      Cool story bro

  4. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    I believe the password was “Lyca123” 😀

  5. Avatar photo Shazia Iqbal says:

    More like Deepak in the IT Dept restored the system from the old O2 files forgetting Lyca had moved to EE.

    1. Avatar photo Reha Begum says:

      Or Abdul dropped a chai on his keyboard and sticky keys led to wrong passwords blocking them all out

    2. Avatar photo Internet voice says:

      Its probably a drug addict imrand khan pulling out a plug

  6. Avatar photo Ben says:

    Ah yes, Lyca, the firm who Boris Johnson referred to as “unhackable”…

    1. Avatar photo anon says:

      cool story bro

  7. Avatar photo JP says:

    More cyber attacks like this are to be expected, we are after all a world at war online.

  8. Avatar photo Andy says:

    Could this have been someone looking for a way to hack into the EE network? Are there any week points in the way that MVNOs connect to their host network?

  9. Avatar photo Chris says:

    This is my fifth day with no calls, texts or data. My plan doesn’t even show up on my Lyca Mobile account.

    What’s worse is that they haven’t had the courtesy to send a single email to affected users.

    A hack they can be forgiven for, but their customer service has been utterly atrocious.

    1. Avatar photo Bert says:

      Were you expecting anything different?

      They are widely regarded as a bunch of cowboys aren’t they?

    2. Avatar photo JP says:

      Are you a new customer or existing???

      If you’ve literally just signed up, its possible they don’t even know you exist in certain databases.

    3. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      I am still trying to get a refund for a Esim that was never activated.. that was 3 months ago.

    4. Avatar photo Butcher's Apron says:

      Maybe next time pay more instead of going with a bargain basement provider?

  10. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Just got through to them as I have nothing, no call text or data.

    They said my deal did not renew hence no service and blamed me for it not renewing. I pointed out my card had not changed, was valid for another 3.5yrs, i had money in the account,it was set up to auto renew as it had been since I started and I’d received a text to say it would do so so it was just a coincidence that despite all this the auto renewal didn’t happen on the same period that they’d had major issues and the lack of auto renew was my fault.
    What a joke, tried to get a PAC code via text and message received saying they can’t send one. Great, I can’t even leave them!
    Absolutely awful

    1. Avatar photo Liz says:

      Same here, my auto renewal didn’t go ahead so they stopped services.

    2. Avatar photo Amy says:

      I have the same problem as you, auto renewal didn’t go through, I’m really worried my card details got stolen though, have you been thinking about cancelling your card and getting a new one because I have?

    3. Avatar photo Sarah Jones says:

      This is the same as us. Can’t leave my daughter any longer without a phone had to buy a temporary sim. Can’t request pac code. But we want to keep the number. They said try again in 48 hours!

    4. Avatar photo Gigi Ge says:

      It happened exactly same on me. I have no calls no texts and data for two days. It says i don’t have enough credit but i am with auto renew. Now I can’t get PAC code via text. I am still waiting for customer service to answer my call!

  11. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

    I’m not a customer so just curious, is a PAC the only way out? If you go to another supplier, explain that you can’t get a PAC, give a blood sample and a note from your mother as well as calling them on the relevant number would they be able to move your number?

    1. Avatar photo Lari says:

      Same issues for me as well since last Friday (still ongoing!)

      Without PAC code you can’t transfer your existing number to new network! Doesn’t stop you joinging a new network, but you can’t take your existing number with you without a PAC code.

      I tried sending SMS to 65075 but got a reply saying it can’t be issued at the moment, contact customer service!

      I really hope Lyca don’t fork up. I don’t want to lose my number that I’ve had since 1994.

  12. Avatar photo Ivor says:

    I have a SIM though have never paid for service; just the poorly written SMSes alone put me off.

    It seems very worrying that whatever it was, it took out service across multiple countries. Do they have one core network for most of Europe or something?

  13. Avatar photo Amy says:

    Is anyone else worried about their card details being stolen?

    1. Avatar photo meritez says:

      That information should be encrypted otherwise Lyca will be falling foul of the GDPR and other requirements and that fine would be significant across all countries that are affected.

  14. Avatar photo Joe Bloggs says:

    Good, Lyca are a bunch of crooks who like to overcharge and change TOS on a whim.

  15. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Can I suggest everyone who is experiencing an issue with Lyca Mobile submit a complaint to Ofcom using this form: https://ofcomlive.my.salesforce-sites.com/formentry/SitesFormCCTMonitoring

    If you’ve had poor or non-existent customer support, give details.

    As they say on the Ofcom website: “Although Ofcom cannot investigate individual cases, the information you provide will help us monitor consumer issues, and could lead to us launching an investigation into a particular company.”

    1. Avatar photo A says:

      That is a fake Ofcom site, please don’t enter your details there!!!

    2. Avatar photo XGS says:

      It’s a Salesforce form. Salesforce is a software as a service platform used by, among many others, Ofcom.

    3. Avatar photo Chris says:

      It’s not a fake site. That form is linked from the Ofcom website here:
      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/problems/mobile-faults-guide

    4. Avatar photo Al says:

      My bad, It is real! I was thrown by the unusal link as all the other forms appear as ofcom.org.

      Sorry

    5. Avatar photo A says:

      My bad, It is real! I was thrown by the unusual link, as all the other forms appear as ofcom.org

      Sorry

  16. Avatar photo Pabs says:

    My guess is they originally suffered a Ransomware attack and chose to switch their systems to the new website/platform which probably wasn’t ready and has caused the loss of service. I sincerely hope no data has been stolen, I signed up for the MSE deal last week for a spare phone and instantly regretted giving any personal data after seeing how janky the old website was.

  17. Avatar photo ajay says:

    i bought an Esim from Lyca, then changed my handset… since friday i have been trying desperatley with no success to get a new Esim but teh website says call customer services and they just tell me it must be done on the website which doesnt work!

    Nevermind yet another foreign call centre using British names like Paul and Donna… yeah sure thats your real name LOL

    Their customer service or lack of it is beyond a joke. To anyone looking to join my advice is AVOID! they are worse than useless

    1. Avatar photo spurple says:

      Try going through the lost sim process on their website, rather than the transfer sim process?

  18. Avatar photo PeteG says:

    Mishaps and cyber attacks will happen but it is the lack of communication and possible strategies to mitigate the situation that is so galling. It sounds to me as if the attack was on the Lyca payments system. We don’t know whether the effect of that is to disable all Lyca numbers or only those, like my own, whose (monthly) payment was due in the very few days since the attack. At first I had a message saying that I had dialled an incorrect number, now I am told that I have no credit. I can’t make a payment as phone companies debit customers’ accounts and according to a very helpful chap at Chase bank don’t have a sort code and account number to send a payment to, (even if that were wise).
    But looking at the Lyca website now, one would think all was peace and light – no warning, whatsoever for those about to travel for instance, for whom a working phone might be indispensable.
    BTW Shouldn’t this box be headed “Leave a Comment” rather than “Leave a Reply”?

    1. Avatar photo PeteG says:

      A further note:
      Given that:
      1 Phone calls are so cheap as to be unlimited
      2 Data up to a certain limit is free
      3 The potentially devastating effects of losing mobile service – possible inability to use planes and other pre-booked transport – payments and banking
      should OFCOM not consider insisting that if a service provider’s payments system crashes, its phone and data service should default to continuing a free service rather than leaving its users abandoned?
      NB I have lost mobile data as well as outgoing calls and texts. Incoming calls are ok.

    2. Avatar photo Furious_lycauser says:

      To me it said my number has been ported out! And now can’t get into my account with my card details on.. when they will charge me £25 next month for the plan!

  19. Avatar photo Jay says:

    Same here, my auto renewal didn’t go ahead so they stopped services.

    1. Avatar photo anon says:

      this is what lyca does. they hook you in with a low fee but say if you don’t auto renew it will be the full expensive fee. then magically nobody’s autorenew works even if your card hasn’t changed and has plenty of credit. It happened to me, so I signed up again using a visa instead of a mastercard, different bank, didn’t renew again. Lyca then wanted £25 a month instead of the £10 they were charging. it’s a scam. they know what they’re doing

  20. Avatar photo Jazzy says:

    My husband is on Lyca and is one of the ones who doesn’t seem to be affected. His is working fine

  21. Avatar photo Steve says:

    I’m the same as Furious_lycauser, when I try to login this evening it says my number has been ported out and my number is not found on their network!! I can’t make calls as of Sunday evening but my data and texting is still working (sort of). What a shambles.

  22. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    So it was probably a Russian hacker group sponsored by the Russian state that did this attacking our infrastructure knowing damn well there will be no consequence to their actions. Just like murdering people with chemical weapons or Polonium in the UK.

    1. Avatar photo Chris says:

      As Lyca Mobile is closely aligned with the Conservative Party and Boris Johnson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycamobile#ComReg), this is more likely to be an issue of corruption, cronyism and upper-class-twit-level incompetence.

      Just a few lines from their Wikipedia page:
      ‘Lycamobile has not paid any corporation tax for several years in the United Kingdom’
      ‘Lycamobile in France was under investigation by authorities for tax fraud and money laundering offences’
      ‘Lycamobile faces a £100 million demand over alleged VAT irregularities’

      As for Russia having “no consequence to their actions”, I will just say three words: Iraq, Pot, Kettle.

    2. Avatar photo Yatta! says:

      @Chris. As for “Iraq, Pot, Kettle” I say three words, tragic Russian whataboutery…

      P.s. F Putin, his apologists and fifth columnist quislings.

    3. Avatar photo Uncle Vlad Yabba Yabba Yabba! says:

      @Yatta!

      Look up the meaning of “hypocrisy” in a dictionary.

      Yours,
      Uncle Vlad

  23. Avatar photo GT says:

    So have the people that received a message saying their number has been ported out had their SIM hijacked?

    This really is a mess. I’ll be leaving Lyca as soon as I can get a PAC code but currently they can’t give me one, when I called they couldn’t generate one and the SMS service fails.

    1. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Then contact OFCOM, regardless of disruption they are obliged to give you a PAC code on request.

    2. Avatar photo SuperKipperFlipper says:

      I have also contacted ofcom about my PAC … hope that works …

  24. Avatar photo GT says:

    I have contacted OFCOM cheers.

  25. Avatar photo Dominik says:

    I can’t even top up.

    1. Avatar photo GT says:

      There’s now an automated message about some vouchers you can use when you call support.

  26. Avatar photo PAD says:

    I seem to be suffering this too – my auto-renewal didn’t happen.

    And they have a customer support line that is only 9am – 6pm!

  27. Avatar photo Myport-died says:

    My PAC was meant to happen last Thursday. Now my old provider has SIM deactivated. My number isn’t on Lyca. My friends, family, children’s school, classes, work – all calling a number that seems to have vanished in a black hole. Lyca shrugs their shoulder and says sorry don’t know the status of port. It will happen when we have fixed the mess. Like what the actual flowering garden!

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  29. Avatar photo Yatta! says:

    @Vlad the quisling

    Another Putin loving fifth columnists, who’s unable to defend their evil scum Dear Leader and his despicable actions without Soviet style whataboutery.

    1. Avatar photo Vlad says Hi! says:

      Hello Hello Hello
      Is that a BOT posting from UK GCHQ?

  30. Avatar photo Danni says:

    Anyone else stilling having issues with their service?
    It’s now 8 days for me 🙁

    1. Avatar photo Chris says:

      Still nothing.

    1. Avatar photo GT says:

      Well that explains why they can’t give me a PAC code then.

  31. Avatar photo A says:

    Update statement from Lyca re customer data breach, with ‘advice’ for further protecting your data:

    https://www.lycamobile.co.uk/en/update

  32. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Finally able to get PAC code. The life boats have arrived! Jump ship!!

    1. Avatar photo Bye Bye Lyca says:

      Yup, I managed to get my PAC code this morning by messaging PAC to 65075.
      Good luck to all!

  33. Avatar photo Michael Vernon says:

    I moved to Lebara 2 weeks ago and obtained my PAC code from Lyca. I can make calls from my new Lebara sim, but I still can’t receive calls or texts because they are still going to my obsolete Lyca account.

    Lebara tell me I need to contact Lyca but I don’t have a contact number for them (from a landline). Difficulty in contacting Lyca Customer Services was one reason why I left. Can anybody tell me their contact number pleas?

    1. Avatar photo Alastair Wrigley says:

      My wife and I are still both having the same problem. Ported out from Lyca after so, so many problems, last week but now we can use our old number and new network tomcat out but no-one can call us as those calls go to Lyca and they are told number not recognised. Utterly hopeless. Contact number for Lyca is 0207 132 0322 but very long waits and all they say is that ‘they are dealing with it’ but still nothing actually happens. I have got my new provider to provide anew eSIM with a different number which I have given to my contacts to use as a temporary fix so maybe try that?

    2. Avatar photo Y U Stillwithlyca says:

      That happened to me too when I switched away.
      Thankfully, that is not something Lyca is in charge of, it is something to do with EE so it will get sorted out.
      Took me nearly a week, but I moved away from Lyca and got my number working properly again.

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