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As it happenedended1708714892

AT&T apologizes for massive system failure but rules out cyber attack

Customers were left in the dark as phone networks across the US went offline

Andrew Griffin,Michelle Del Rey
Friday 23 February 2024 19:01 GMT
AT&T users facing cell service outages nationwide

AT&T has said that a massive outage that left people unable to make calls – including to 911 – was not caused by a cyber attack.

The provider said thew outage was caused by “the application and execution of an incorrect process” during network expansion. “We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve,” the statement read.

The White House echoed this saying that there was no evidence the outage was caused by a cyber attack

According to CNN, John Kirby, a National Security spokesman, said the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are looking into the Thursday incident and contacting partners to “see what we can do from a federal perspective to lend a hand to their investigative efforts to figure out what happened there.”

Still, he said, officials are unsure about what caused the widespread outage.

“The bottom line is we don’t have all the answers to that. I mean, this just happened earlier today. And so we’re working very hard to see if we can get to the ground truth of exactly what happened.”

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is now working with AT&T to get to the root of the issue.

“CISA is aware of the reports and we are working closely with AT&T to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts, and stand ready to offer any assistance needed,” the agency’s Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Eric Goldstein, said in a statement.

The outage, which began early on Thursday, led to warnings from emergency services and advice from companies to get around the issue.

AT&T has around 250 million customers, making it the US’s biggest phone network by some distance. The company said all its entire network had been restored around 3pm ET.

Follow for all the latest on the outage below.


Marco Rubio uses outage to stoke fear about Chinese cyber attacks

Florida senator Marco Rubio has used the outage to stoke fear about a Chinese cyber attack. At the moment there is nothing to indicate whether the outage was intentional.

(Experts have warned about the danger of an attack of this kind on important infrastructure. But it’s not clear whether China actually intends to launch one.)

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 09:45

Hello and welcome...

... to The Independent’s live coverage of the outage at AT&T.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 14:46

AT&T says it has ‘located an outage'

In response to questions from customers, AT&T says it has “located” and “pinpointed an outage”.

“We don’t have an estimated time frame, but our team is on it,” it said on X/Twitter.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 14:50

Outage continues

Hours after it started, some AT&T customers still can’t get online. The company hasn’t said anything meaningful since it said that it had “identified” the problem – but it still doesn’t seem to be fixed.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:49

Virginia county urges residents to text 911 during outage

Emergency officials are struggling to take in calls as the AT&T outage persists. In Virginia, officials with Prince William County, just an hour southwest from Washington DC, are asking their residents to text emergency services if they need to.

According to the Prince William Times, other officials in neighbouring counties are putting out the same notices, but are alerting residents to text 911 when possible.

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 17:25

Downdetector reports significant drop in complaints

The website that tracks self-reported outages is reporting a significantly lower amount of disruptions across the country.

According to the latest numbers, just about 7,000 people continue to experience outages. Still, the site is not meant to offer a comprehensive look of the ongoing situation.

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 18:53

FCC says it’s actively investigating the outage

“We are aware of the reported wireless outages, and our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is actively investigating,” an FCC spokesperson said.

“We are in touch with AT&T and public safety authorities, including FirstNet, as well as other providers.”

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 19:13

Professor says ‘cloud misconfiguration’ likely the case of AT&T outage

Lee McKnight, an associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, told NBC News that the most likely cause of the outage is “cloud misconfiguration” or human error.

“A possible but far less likely outcome is an intentional malicious hack of ATT’s network, but the diffuse pattern of outages across the country suggests something more fundamental,” he said.

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 19:33

Outages around the country as of 2pm

AT&T: 4,000

T-Mobile: 574

Verizon: 920

Cricket: 651

Boost Mobile: 88

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 19:53

AT&T says 75 per cent of network restored

AT&T is saying that 75 per cent of its network has been restored.

“Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored,” the company said. “We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”

Michelle Del Rey22 February 2024 20:43

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