EXCLUSE:Optus Services Failure Was On A Network Operated By Singtel Claim Insiders
UPDATED: The Optus services network failure, that lasted for 16 hours,affected millions, and bought Australian business to a standstill, was on a network operated by Singapore Telecom (Singtel), this is the same network that Optus uses to sell their services claims insiders.
According to informed sources, senior Optus network executives are employed by Singapore Telecom, and that Optus management including CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin went out of their way to protect the Singapore owners of Optus from operational criticism.
A senior executive of a Company that has a close working relationship with Optus, told ChannelNews “The network was being run by Singapore Telecom when it crashed. They were also running the network when the cyber-attack took place”.
“My understanding is that Rosmarin took all the heat over the crash to protect her Singapore master”.
In a statement issued today Monday Optus revealed the cause of the outage that crippled the nation last week, citing changes to “routing information” following a software upgrade.
They have not said despite repeated requests as to who was running the network, Optus or Singapore Telecom.
“At around 4.05am Wednesday morning, the Optus network received changes to routing information from an international peering network following a routine software upgrade,” Optus said in a statement on Monday.
“There routing information changes propagated through multiple layers in our network and exceeded preset safety levels on key routers which could not handle these.
The statement said the action resulted in routers disconnecting from the Optus IP Core network to protect themselves.
This resulted in a large scale effort to reconnect or reboot the routers physically, requiring “the dispatch of people across a number of sites in Australia”.
The Optus operations centre, or so-called “nerve centre”, simply monitors a network operated by Singapore Telecom.
Lambo Kanagaratnam is Managing Director of Networks at Optus.
And while his profile on the Optus web site claims he is responsible for the technology strategy, design, build and operations of the Optus network across Australia insiders claim that he reports to Singapore and that they are the main operators of the network.
His profile claims that he has 24 years of telecommunication industry experience in Africa and the Middle East.
Previously he worked as Chief Technology Officer of MTN Irancell in Iran between 2009 and 2010.
At this stage he has not commented on what went wrong or what bought the network crashing down.
We have given Optus several days to explain who operates the network that Optus services run on.
We have also asked who was operating the network at the time of the failure, and whether listed Network management listed on the Optus web site actually work for Optus or Singapore Telecom.
Back in 2022 Optus management announced that they would take operational control of its business-to-business arm following a decentralisation process by its parent company Singtel.
The Singapore-headquartered Singtel handed operational management of Optus Enterprise over to the Australia-based Optus team in a move that will support the “localised need of [its] business customer[s]”.
Effective from 1 July 2022, the move gave Optus more operational autonomy and direct accountability, Singtel claimed at the time.
There was no mention of whether this included management of the core communication network that Optus runs on.
Singtel Optus ConnectPlus ILC is a point-to-point international leased line service for transporting data communications traffic that ChannelNews understands is operated by Singtel but sold by Optus management.
Optus claim that the Singtel managed network delivers a dedicated and secure digital transmission service to carry mission-critical and highly interactive traffic for Australian businesses.
Optus still suspected an external party triggered the issue; with engineers baffled by a chain of events they had never imagined.
They have not said whether the trigger was Singapore Telecom engineers initiating an upgrade that went terribly wrong.
The SMH reports that at 9.37am on Wednesday, Optus told partners privately that field technicians had been dispatched to address the issue at two crucial exchange locations: the Sunshine Exchange, in Melbourne’s west, and a separate one in Burwood East, in the city’s east.
“Upon initial assessment, it has been identified that troubleshooting of routers and router reflectors [a type of router] may be necessary to resolve the problem effectively,” it said. “We are still confirming the restoration details in terms of ETR [estimated time of restoration] and we will endeavour to provide that shortly.”
An earlier message at 7.45am said the issue lay with “route reflectors, which are currently handling an excessive number of routes, leading to session shutdown and a complete traffic halt”.
By about 5.50pm, Optus advised staff internally that a team from Nokia Networks, which manages its routers, had performed a “manual restart” of router reflectors across all sites and of the Border Gateway Protocol (which is how telco owners and operators’ routers share routing information).
By Friday afternoon, two days after the outage, Optus issued a “change freeze”, a directive that all internal IT systems are not changed in any way until November 13, the source said. The move is an indication that Optus fears even a routine upgrade could trigger another disaster.