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AT&T says massive service outage was caused by a technical error

A cyberattack was not the cause of yesterday's outage.
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Published onFebruary 23, 2024

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TL;DR
  • AT&T experienced an outage yesterday that left tens of thousands of customers without service.
  • The carrier and government agencies investigated the issue to see if the cause was the result of technical problems or a cyberattack.
  • It appears the cause was the result of an update error.

Yesterday, AT&T experienced a massive outage that left tens of thousands of customers without cellular service. At the time, an investigation was carried out to discover if the cause was just a technical error or linked to a cyberattack. It appears the answer is the former and not the latter.

After conducting an investigation into the hours-long service outage, AT&T said the problem was not caused by a cyberattack but rather by a mistake on their part. The carrier didn’t explain too much in detail, but blamed the incident on an update error.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press, AT&T says:

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.

At its peak, there were 73,000 reported incidents on the outage tracker DownDetector. While a majority of the outage affected AT&T customers, other carriers that use AT&T’s network were also affected. Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, had 9,000 reports of its own.

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