Etisalat website, payment service back after brief 'hack attack'

Service was temporarily disrupted on Thursday morning when browsers were redirected to Chinese site

Image Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Dubai: The etisalat website which redirected traffic to a Chinese website on Thursday morning has been restored back to normal now.

News broke out on social media with many users Tweeting about the incident, saying that the website had been "hacked", and redirecting users to a Chinese website.

“Someone has managed to compromise the domain name structure (DNS) infrastructure of the internet. He has managed to change the DNS records of etisalat’s website,” Nicolai Solling, director of technology services at help AG, a security solutions provider, told Gulf News.

DNS is a service that translates domain names (for example, etisalat.ae) into IP addresses.  DNS server translates alphabets to numbers.

It was not immediately clear when the incident took place and for how long the site was compromised. Nor was it clear who were the perpetrators.

Etisalat has sorted the issue fairly quickly but some web users may still see the Chinese characters, said Solling.

To solve this, they need to clear their DNS cache. Solling said the best way to clear the cache is to reboot the machine and the issue will be solved.

Etisalat hasn’t issued an official statement about the incident but a customer care spokesperson said that the service is back to normal.

Etisalat’s payment service - e4me.ae - was showing an error message in the morning– “Gateway Timeout. The server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.”

The payment service has since been restored.

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