Emergency Alert, or in other words “Alarm Signal”, was massively received on the mobile phones belonging to the operator “Vivacom”. The message was accompanied by a vibration and a loud screeching sound.
A check by News.bg shows that a small number of mobile phones of other operators received a similar message, but accompanied by the inscription “Signal from the President”.
Our team also contacted the headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, from where we were redirected to GDBOP. From there they clarified that they have no information about what this “Alarm Signal” is and were not alerted to its release.
The GDBOP has forwarded the received signals to the “Cybersecurity” department, from where information is not expected until tomorrow. At the moment, it is also unclear whether this is an official warning system and whether opening the notification could harm mobile phones.
When you call the official number of the mobile operator, a recorded message is automatically played, which reads: “In connection with the received notifications of danger on mobile phones, we inform you that a test of the early warning system for disasters and accidents has been carried out.”
However, why were the operator’s customers not warned about the upcoming system test, and if hundreds of thousands of people were to be subjected to, if not panic, then primary stress, Vivacom probably has no answer to this question either.
As can be seen from the photo, the message is accompanied by a link to a site for more information. When trying to get it, however, it turns out that the site is unavailable.
In his Facebook profile, Bozhidar Bozhankov from PP/DB commented on the mass notification on his phone from BG ALERT – the early warning system, which he said was currently being implemented.
Bozhankov assures three things:
- It’s ok, no danger, it’s just a test message
- It is high time to have such a system which is very useful in disasters and it is very good that the Ministry of Interior is implementing it.
- MoI needs to improve the testing process (especially in a production environment). “test test” is not a good message.
From this information it appears that in fact the Ministry of Internal Affairs was familiar with the system and it is not something new. Where all the discrepancy comes from remains to be seen..