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AT&T outage sparks FBI cyber attack investigation

The US’ largest telco, AT&T, has suffered a major network outage, sparking concerns that a cyber attack may be the cause.

user icon Daniel Croft
Fri, 23 Feb 2024
AT&T outage sparks FBI cyber attack investigation
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The outage was first observed by the company’s customers on Thursday (22 February), with the company confirming that its network was down.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. Our network teams took immediate action, and so far, three-quarters of our network has been restored,” said the company in a statement.

“We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”


AT&T has since provided an update on its website, saying that services are back online.

“We have restored wireless service to all our affected customers. We sincerely apologise to them. Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future.”

The incident reportedly sparked the concern of US authorities, who launched an investigation into the outage.

Speaking with the US ABC News, two sources close to the matter have said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, as well as others, are investigating whether or not a cyber attack was the cause of the outage.

Additionally, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) wrote a confidential memo seen by ABC News that “the cause of the outage is unknown, and there are no indications of malicious activity”.

Cyber Daily has also observed that based on Downdetector data, other US telcos like Verizon and T-Mobile suffered major outages at the same time, suggesting issues with infrastructure or, if a cyber attack has occurred, that it was a wider campaign.

However, speaking with ABC News, both telcos said that their systems were not down, but some issues had been observed.

“Verizon’s network is operating normally. Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation,” said a Verizon spokesperson.

T-mobile added: “We did not experience an outage.

“Our network is operating normally. Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks.”

Despite authorities’ concerns, AT&T has since said that its initial observations suggest the incident is not the result of a cyber attack.

“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,” it said on its website.

“We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.”

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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