A number of users of Spark's Xtra Mail service appear to have been collateral damage as the telco took counter-measures against recent cyber attacks.
"Spark implemented proactive measures for a short period of time to mitigate against recent DDoS [distributed denial of service] attacks," a spokeswoman told the Herald this afternoon, after it was relayed that at least two readers had reported problems with the web mail service.
"As a result, a limited number of Xtra Mail customers who were accessing the platform via a web browser were unable to access their accounts during this time. Access for these customers has now resumed as normal."
The spokeswoman could not exactly quantify the number of customers affected but said it was "a very small amount."
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The readers were trying to access Spark's Xtra Mail service from offshore.
Efforts to deflect a DDoS attack - which tries to overwhelm a site with automated connection requests, as afflicted Spark customer the NZX from last Tuesday to Monday this week as an offshore attacker struck, often involve blocking traffic from ranges of IP address, usually from overseas.
Xtra Mail user Vinay Kumar, contacting the Herald via a Gmail address, said he had been unable to access the service from August 30 (Sunday) up to and including the morning of September 2 (today). It came back online around midday.
He was in Fiji, and said he relied on Xtra Mail for connectivity, he told the Herald. He worked as a "lawyer turned businessman and currently managing a business in retail and wholesale in Fiji," after moving there from Auckland five years ago.
"During this pandemic our reliance on email and web mail for work is become much more critical and Spark needs to understand that," said Kumar, who added he had been a Spark customer for 25 years.
The telco had offered no compensation, he said.
Spark repatriated Xtra Mail back to New Zealand in 2016 after it suffered as serious of security and spam issues while hosted in the US by the telco's former partner, Yahoo.