EDITORIAL | Cybersecurity: Cell service outage benign, but shows our vulnerability | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Thousands of Americans woke up in the 1980s on Thursday.

Or so it seemed.

Many did what so many do first thing in the morning — check their cell phones. And found they had no service.

The outage mostly affected AT&T users in cities like Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. But some other areas were affected, including here in the Twin Cities. And other carriers reported outages, including T-Mobile, Verizon and Cricket Wireless.

The outages didn’t last all that long for most customers. Service was restored Thursday afternoon.

The FBI quickly looked into the possibility of a cyberattack. But the cause of the outage was much less dramatic.

“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 cyberattack,” the company said Thursday evening on its website. “We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.”

So it was apparently a glitchy software update.

Looking at the big picture, the outage really wasn’t a big deal Fewer than 1200,000 customers affected for a few hours.

But from some of the social media posts you would think the world was coming to an end.

Cell service and internet access are such a big part of our daily lives, any interruption can cause a panic. Imagine if this had been a major outage.

And while the source of this outage appears benign, it shows where we are most vulnerable. And that, in these times, cybersecurity is as vital as military force in defending our nation.


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National Cyber Security