Wednesday, 05 October 2016 06:01

Major US east coast phone carriers hit by outage

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All major phone carriers on the east coast of the United States experienced outages of up to 45 minutes beginning at 11am local time on Tuesday (1am AEDT Wednesday), according to information from the outage monitoring site, DownDetector.

The site confirmed that AT&T, Verizon, Charter Spectrum, Comcast, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, US Cellular, and Vonage were among those affected.

A report carried by the DailyDot pointed to a tweet from T-Mobile chief executive John Legere that indicated there were issues with Level 3, a major backbone of the Internet.

Level 3 acknowledged the issues, tweeting: "We're aware of a situation impacting voice svcs. Our team is working to ID cause. We will provide updates as more info is available."

Later the company sent out this tweet: "Today our voice network experienced svc disruptions affecting some NA customers. We restored svcs by 9:31MT. We're investigating root cause."

Discussions by systems administrators on the North American Network Operators Group mailing list and those on the Outages list did not shed much light on the possible cause of the outage.

One sysadmin on the NANOG list did speculate that the outage might be due to a denial of service attack, writing "This could be DoS attack."

In response well-known security expert Valdis Kletnieks had this to say: "Or a missing comma in a code update. Or a fumble-fingered NOC monkey. Or.... You have any reason to suspect a DoS attack rather than all the other possibilities?"

Source code for software used to carry out distrubuted denial of service attacks was leaked recently, as iTWire reported.

And security technologist Bruce Schneier had recently pointed out that he had been told by people in the industry that there had been probes to test the defences of the Internet.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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