AT&T Denies Outage Was Due To Cyberattack

AT&T has provided some information after suffering an hours-long outage to its mobile network in the United States, that impacted many thousands of users.

The operator said the widespread outage was a result of a technical error, and not a malicious cyberattack. AT&T is the country’s largest, with more than 240 million subscribers.

The outage was so widespread that the FBI and Homeland Security said they were “urgently investigating” the matter, after tens of thousands of users in the US were left unable to make phone calls, including to emergency services.

AT&T outage

According to the outage monitoring website Downdetector.com, AT&T customers on Thursday morning at 04:00 EST (or 09:00 GMT) began reporting they had no service or no signal.

At its peak, more than 73,000 users reported problems with their mobile service.

AT&T apologised to customers and said its mobile services had been fully restored by early Thursday afternoon.

The Dallas-based mobile operator then offered more insight into what had caused the outage, denying a cyberattack had been responsible.

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

Service restored

Other mobile networks in the US such as Verizon and T-Mobile continued to operate normally on Thursday, although there were some reported problems that were thought to be from customers trying to connect to AT&T users.

Some media reports also stated that during the AT&T outage, some Apple iPhone users saw SOS messages displayed in the status bar of their handsets.

This can happen when the handset has difficulties connecting to its mobile network, in which case it allows for emergency calls via other mobile networks.

AT&T’s service is operating normally on Friday.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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