AT&T: Internal issue, not cyberattack caused mass service outage

AT&T said it a mass outage on Thursday was not the result of a cyberattack. File Photo by Justin Lane/EPA-EFE

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- AT&T said an internal issue and not a cyberattack was to blame for a mass service outage on Thursday.

After announcing that service had been restored to all of its customers as of 1:10 p.m. EST Thursday, the wireless provider said it was still assessing the outage and taking steps to prevent future outages.

"Based on our initial review, we believe that [Thursday's] outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyberattack," the AT&T said.

The cellular phone outage started before dawn on Thursday and throughout most of the day, AT&T customers could not get a signal, affecting emergency outlets, municipalities and customers of other cellular companies who were trying to reach services and loved ones who use AT&T.

The website Down Detector said at one point Thursday that more than 71,000 customers reported cellphone issues. Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T and uses its network, has more than 13,000 customers affected.

Verizon said it received 4,300 outage reports but said it was not affected directly by AT&T. Other systems said their problems occurred when their customers tried to reach out to those using AT&T during the outage.

The Federal Communications Commission said its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has opened an investigation into the outage.

"We are in touch with AT&T and public safety authorities, including FirstNet, as well as other providers," the FCC said on X.

White House National Security Adviser communications adviser John Kirby said Homeland Security and the FBI have also been in touch with AT&T.

"We're working very hard to get restoration of services to those that are still without those services," Kirby said Thursday.