AT&T Announces Suspected Cause of Nationwide Cell Outage

AT&T Announces Suspected Cause of Nationwide Cell Outage

After a service disruption Thursday effected tens of thousands of AT&T, sparking fears of a cyber attack, the company announced that evening that an internal error was the source of the problems.

The company didn’t say how many of its customers had been affected by the issue, but USAToday cited data from website Downdetector as showing more than 70,000 reported problems. (That number, as USAToday itself noted, “may not be accurate.”)

ABC News reported that the outage had been “urgently investigated” by federal authorities to determine whether bad actors, but saw no evidence of anything suspicious.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a memo cited by ABC that “the cause of the outage is unknown and there are no indications of malicious activity.”

The company issued three network updates on its website during the day Thursday regarding the service interruption.

February 22, 2024, 10:15 a.m. CT

Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.

February 22, 2024, 2:10 p.m. CT

We have restored wireless service to all our affected customers. We sincerely apologize to them. Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future.

Last updated February 22, 2024, 6:46 p.m. CT

Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack.  We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.

The outages prevented some users from calling 911 in case of emergency, prompting some local authorities to warn of the need to request emergency services by other means, if necessary.

For example, North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that consumers may not be able to contact 911, but that the emergency call center was operating normally if residents could reach it by another means.

AT&T has over 100 million customers in the U.S., according to the “investor profile” page on its website.

No other major providers experienced similar problems, according to ABC.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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