AT&T Explains Mass Outage

Apparently it wasn't a cyberattack, despite rampant speculation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2024 12:00 AM CST
AT&T Explains Mass Outage
The company logo hangs over the door to a AT&T telephone store Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AT&T says the mass outage that affected about 60,000 of its customers Thursday was caused by a software update. Specifically, "the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network" was to blame, the telecom company said in a statement to ABC News. Outages were reported with other cell carriers as well (though Verizon and T-Mobile explained that their networks did not actually experience outages and that any outages seen on Down Detector were likely a reflection of their customers struggling to connect with customers on other networks who were experiencing outages) and so, of course, conspiracy theories were spreading, Gizmodo reports.

Alex Jones blamed Chinese hackers, and the Netflix movie Leave the World Behind was trending on social media due to the many people making comparisons to the apocalyptic thriller (whose tagline is, "No internet. No phones. No going back to normal"). Sources say the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were looking into the situation to determine whether a cyberattack could have played a role. But AT&T says that's not the case, and, in a memo obtained by ABC, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said there were "no indications of malicious activity." (More AT&T stories.)

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