Security Experts:

BlackBerry Outage a Result of a Core Switch Failure

A service outage at Research in Motion spanning the past two days has left millions of BlackBerry users in certain parts of the world without the ability to send or receive emails, and in some cases browse the Web from their mobile devices.

After a response Monday that offered no information as to the reasons behind the outage, today RIM shared some information on the incident that disrupted service to BlackBerry users across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

A RIM spokesperson told SecurityWeek that the outage was caused by a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure. “Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested,” SecurityWeek was told. “As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible.”

On Monday, the company offered little information to ease customer concerns, only issuing the following statement: “We are working to resolve an issue currently impacting some BlackBerry subscribers in the EMEA region. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.”

Many customers don’t realize that they are relying on two parties to ensure reliable service to their mobile devices---RIM and their mobile carrier. If one of these providers fail, service is interrupted.

Outages like this don’t affect phone calls and other features such as text messaging, but a critical service to most BlackBerry users - email - is typically disrupted when RIM’s infrastructure experiences outages like this.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.