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AT&T: Nationwide Network Outage Was Not a Cyber Attack

The company has announced the nationwide outage on Thursday was not caused by a cyber attack, and that it was the result of complications from an ongoing network expansion.

Cell towers
(TNS) — AT&T has announced the outages affecting first responders and people across the country on Thursday were not caused by cyber attacks, according to a statement from the cellular company.

Instead, the company said the “application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network,” or an update the company was trying to perform, was behind the problems. AT&T added it will continue to assess the outage to ensure service is still being delivered.

Outage reports to — a website that tracks service outages — indicated the problem started sometime before 4 a.m. on Feb. 22.

Though other major carriers customers’ reported outages to the site, Verizon and T-Mobile clarified later Thursday morning that their networks were operating normally. AT&T also acknowledged the outages were affecting its networks, but did not offer a reason at that time.

“We’re very dependent on this technology. What happened highlights just how dependent we are on this wireless and information technology,” Alexander Wyglinski, an electrical engineering professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said in a statement Thursday.

Police and fire departments across the country wrote on social media the outages were hampering citizens’ ability to call 911, leading people to test whether they could call 911 on their cell phones.

“Many 911 centers in the state are getting flooded with calls from people trying to see if 911 works from their cell phone,” Massachusetts State Police posted on social media. “Please do not do this. If you can successfully place a non-emergency call to another number via your cell service then your 911 service will also work.”

Local police suggested AT&T customers use a landline to report emergencies. AT&T said Wi-Fi calling would still work.

The outage also caused Pittsfield’s parking meters to stop working, according to city officials. No parking meter violations were issued in the city on Thursday, but all other parking regulations were still in effect.

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