Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Mobile & Wireless

AT&T Says the Outage to Its US Cellphone Network Was Not Caused by a Cyberattack

AT&T said the hourslong outage to its U.S. cellphone network Thursday appeared to be the result of a technical error, not a malicious attack.

AT&T said the hourslong outage to its U.S. cellphone network Thursday appeared to be the result of a technical error, not a malicious attack.

The outage knocked out cellphone service for thousands of its users across the U.S. starting early Thursday before it was restored.

AT&T blamed the incident on an error in coding, without elaborating.

“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,” the Dallas-based company said.

Outage tracker Downdetector noted that outages, which began at about 3:30 a.m. ET, peaked at around 73,000 reported incidents. AT&T had more than 58,000 outages around noon ET, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. The carrier is the country’s largest, with more than 240 million subscribers.

By 9 p.m. ET, the reports on AT&T’s network were fewer than 1,000.

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, had more than 9,000 outages at one point but the reports had also tailed off later in the afternoon. Users of other carriers, including Verizon and T-Mobile, also reported issues but those companies said their networks were operating normally and the problems were likely stemming from customers trying to connect to AT&T users.

During the outage, some iPhone users saw SOS messages displayed in the status bar on their cellphones. The message indicates that the device is having trouble connecting to their cellular provider’s network, but it can make emergency calls through other carrier networks, according to Apple Support.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Federal Communications Commission contacted AT&T about the outage and the Department of Homeland Security and FBI were also looking into it, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

The FBI acknowledged it had been in touch with AT&T. “Should we learn of any malicious activity we will respond accordingly,” the agency said.

The outage also raised concerns on Capitol Hill.

“We are working to assess today’s disruption in order to gain a complete understanding of what went wrong and what can be done to prevent future incidents like this from occurring,” said a statement issued by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ohio Republican Bob Latta, chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

Related: RIPE Account Hacking Leads to Major Internet Outage at Orange Spain 

Related: United Airlines Says the Outage That Held Up Departing Flights Was Not a Cybersecurity Issue

Related: Major ChatGPT Outage Caused by DDoS Attack

Written By

Trending

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join the session as we discuss the challenges and best practices for cybersecurity leaders managing cloud identities.

Register

SecurityWeek’s Ransomware Resilience and Recovery Summit helps businesses to plan, prepare, and recover from a ransomware incident.

Register

People on the Move

Cody Barrow has been appointed the new CEO of threat intelligence company EclecticIQ.

Shay Mowlem has been named CMO of runtime and application security company Contrast Security.

Attack detection firm Vectra AI has appointed Jeff Reed to the newly created role of Chief Product Officer.

More People On The Move

Expert Insights

Related Content

Malware & Threats

Apple’s cat-and-mouse struggles with zero-day exploits on its flagship iOS platform is showing no signs of slowing down.

Mobile & Wireless

Samsung smartphone users warned about CVE-2023-21492, an ASLR bypass vulnerability exploited in the wild, likely by a spyware vendor.

Mobile & Wireless

Infonetics Research has shared excerpts from its Mobile Device Security Client Software market size and forecasts report, which tracks enterprise and consumer security client...

Fraud & Identity Theft

A team of researchers has demonstrated a new attack method that affects iPhone owners who use Apple Pay and Visa payment cards. The vulnerabilities...

Mobile & Wireless

Critical security flaws expose Samsung’s Exynos modems to “Internet-to-baseband remote code execution” attacks with no user interaction. Project Zero says an attacker only needs...

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Mobile & Wireless

Two vulnerabilities in Samsung’s Galaxy Store that could be exploited to install applications or execute JavaScript code by launching a web page.

Mobile & Wireless

Asus patched nine WiFi router security defects, including a highly critical 2018 vulnerability that exposes users to code execution attacks.