Suspension of internet service

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ercatli
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:14 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Suspension of internet service

Post by ercatli » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:42 pm

This week I had my Exetel internet connection suspended for a short time. I received three separate notifications of this, a telephone call, my browser was redirected to an "Exetel Spam Block" page, and then an email. The two written communications were quite strongly worded (and rather off-putting), but all three communications were somewhat suspicious for several reasons. There was no easy way to know if they were genuine, spam, phishing or something even more malicious.

These communications all alleged unusual activity from my IP address, and claimed great certainty. We ended up running virus checking on all computers connected to this account and found no viruses, and subsequently our service was reinstated.

I then emailed Exetel technical support asking for advice on what had happened, and while the reply was helpful, it didn't fully answer my questions. I am posting here hoping (a) to get further clarification, (b) that it may help others facing a similar situation, and (c) that it may assist Exetel improve its customer relations.

(1) I asked what was the cause of this problem, and was told "we experienced a DNS server attack. Due to that internet service was suspended because of "some unusual activity coming from your IP address." This indicates that there was a genuine problem, not initially caused by me, but by the DNS attack. It surely would then have been more helpful and customer-friendly to send me an email and direct me to a webpage that was less threatening and accusing in its wording, and instead apologised for the attack on Exetel that had caused the problem!? I would have been quite understanding, instead I was left feeling accused and at fault. I would have been able to wait patiently rather than feel disturbed and frantically putting off other activities to run virus checks.

(2) I asked how we could know if a communication was genuinely from Exetel, and was told I should ring and confirm. Yet the Exetel Spam Block page specifically says not to ring!

I don't write this to be critical of Exetel, but to be constructive. I have been with Exetel for many years and I want to help improve things where I can.

(i) I think the Exetel Spam Block could be re-written with softer language, or, better still, there be another page to address situations where we the users don't appear to have been at fault.

(ii) When there is a security issue like this, Exetel could post a pop-up window on the front page of the website telling us you have experienced an attack and we should just hang on until you resolve it. Then we would know and wouldn't have to worry.

(iii) I think we shouldn't be asked to click on links (that is always doubtful if the communication is suspicious), but rather directed to go to the Exetel website ourselves and get our direction there.

(iv) I think you could write all users an email outlining how we should deal with security issues, and how Exetel will deal with them. Let us know how to recognise malicious communications. Let us know you will always tell us what has gone wrong.

judep
Exetel Staff
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:57 pm
Location: Sri Lanka

Re: Suspension of internet service

Post by judep » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:11 pm

ercatli wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:42 pm
This week I had my Exetel internet connection suspended for a short time. I received three separate notifications of this, a telephone call, my browser was redirected to an "Exetel Spam Block" page, and then an email. The two written communications were quite strongly worded (and rather off-putting), but all three communications were somewhat suspicious for several reasons. There was no easy way to know if they were genuine, spam, phishing or something even more malicious.

These communications all alleged unusual activity from my IP address, and claimed great certainty. We ended up running virus checking on all computers connected to this account and found no viruses, and subsequently our service was reinstated.

I then emailed Exetel technical support asking for advice on what had happened, and while the reply was helpful, it didn't fully answer my questions. I am posting here hoping (a) to get further clarification, (b) that it may help others facing a similar situation, and (c) that it may assist Exetel improve its customer relations.

(1) I asked what was the cause of this problem, and was told "we experienced a DNS server attack. Due to that internet service was suspended because of "some unusual activity coming from your IP address." This indicates that there was a genuine problem, not initially caused by me, but by the DNS attack. It surely would then have been more helpful and customer-friendly to send me an email and direct me to a webpage that was less threatening and accusing in its wording, and instead apologised for the attack on Exetel that had caused the problem!? I would have been quite understanding, instead I was left feeling accused and at fault. I would have been able to wait patiently rather than feel disturbed and frantically putting off other activities to run virus checks.

(2) I asked how we could know if a communication was genuinely from Exetel, and was told I should ring and confirm. Yet the Exetel Spam Block page specifically says not to ring!

I don't write this to be critical of Exetel, but to be constructive. I have been with Exetel for many years and I want to help improve things where I can.

(i) I think the Exetel Spam Block could be re-written with softer language, or, better still, there be another page to address situations where we the users don't appear to have been at fault.

(ii) When there is a security issue like this, Exetel could post a pop-up window on the front page of the website telling us you have experienced an attack and we should just hang on until you resolve it. Then we would know and wouldn't have to worry.

(iii) I think we shouldn't be asked to click on links (that is always doubtful if the communication is suspicious), but rather directed to go to the Exetel website ourselves and get our direction there.

(iv) I think you could write all users an email outlining how we should deal with security issues, and how Exetel will deal with them. Let us know how to recognise malicious communications. Let us know you will always tell us what has gone wrong.
Hi,

First of all we would like to sincerely apologies for making you feel threatened and vulnerable emotionally by this incident. Having said that, we highly value our customers feedback and will definitely take this incident and your suggestions as constructive criticism, in order to serve everyone with a better service. I will escalate this issue toward the senior management immediately and we will get back to you on this issue.

Once again I would like to reiterate our most sincere apologies and thank you for your feedback.

Thanks.

ercatli
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:14 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Suspension of internet service

Post by ercatli » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:13 am

Thank you, I really appreciate that response.

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