April 22, 2024

What caused the AT&T outage? Experts weigh in as cellphone service goes down nationwide

Experts weigh in on what caused AT&T outage hitting the nation

Americans were left without cellular service for hours following a massive outage. While providers have not revealed what happened, experts have shared three possible scenarios.

A massive outage that  knocked cellular services offline for hours had Americans asking: ‘what caused the issues?’

More than a dozen cellular providers, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, reported disrupted services, but there has been no official explanation yet.

While we waited for answers, researchers shared with DailyMail.com the possible scenarios that could have led to tens of thousands of users losing cellular service.

These experts suggested the causes could be human error, an intentional malicious hack or a solar flare that erupted from the sun – though the latter is the least likely scenario.

Lee McKnight, associate Professor in the iSchool (The School of Information Studies) at Syracuse University in New York, said: ‘The dirty secret of telecom networks these days is they are just a bunch of wires and towers connected to the cloud like everything else in modern life, whether Netflix or your grocery store.

‘With little information released on the cause of AT&T’s cross-country outages, the most likely cause is a cloud misconfiguration. 

‘Which is a fancy word for saying human error. I was reviewing this exact issue in class yesterday.’

Cloud misconfigurations are gaps, errors and vulnerabilities that occur when security settings are poorly chosen or completely neglected.

Such mistakes can disrupt performance of a system or leave the cloud open to infiltration by adversaries.

This issue allowed Russia and China to ‘attack Google’ in 2018.

Data belonging to users across the globe was intercepted by servers in Nigeria, China and Russia – including those run by major state-owned telecoms providers.

However, it is unknown if hackers took advantage of Thursday’s outage.

Cloud misconfiguration can happen in several different ways, such as unchanged defaults.

Some refer to unchanged defaults as an ‘elementary mistake,’ which is made by someone working with systems who did not change the default usernames and passwords.

Another is ignoring logs that collect information about the system’s security gaps, unauthorized access, breaches and other related items.

If the logs are not attended to in a timely matter, staff working on the system will become backed up with details that become difficult to correct.

However, it is unclear what type of cloud misconfiguration caused the outage or even if that was the issue.

‘A possible but far less likely outcome is an intentional malicious hack of AT&T’s network, but the diffuse pattern of outages across the country suggests something more fundamental,’ said McKnight, who is also an Affiliate of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSTC).

AT&T has suffered data breaches in the last year with one in March that impacted nine million people.

In 2023, Ukraine’s top mobile service, Kyivstar, was hit by a cyberattack that knocked out services for half of the population, damaged IT infrastructure and put millions of people in danger of not receiving alerts of potential Russian air assaults.

But in the US, most hacks have stolen data and did not cause a cellular blackout.

AT&T fell victim to a solar flare in 1972 that interrupted landline services.

The storm that hit Earth was compared to the event in 1859 known as the Carrington Event, which saw the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history.

If such a solar storm were to happen in today’s world, the effects would be catastrophic on our communications systems.

A meteorologist shared online that a solar flare had erupted from the sun around midnight on Thursday, noting that the ‘timing is interesting.’

‘Yes, there was a strong solar flare reported around midnight. But, is it connected to the cell phone outage? Not impossible and the timing is interesting, but not sure we can say that just yet, Justin Horne with Texas-based KSAT 12 posted on X.

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website showed a radio blackout occurred on the eastern side of Africa and below Asia.

A solar flare ionization of the lower levels of the atmosphere which causes interference for long-range radios used by commercial airlines, military groups and government agencies.

The outage, which appeared around 4am ET, left many iPhones in SOS mode, leaving them unable to make phone calls, send messages or surf the web.

The SOS Only appears in the top-right corner of the control center with the latest iOS software and the top left corner in previous versions.

However, you can make Emergency SOS calls to authorities.

Some cellular networks appear to be coming back online, but that still leaves many asking the million dollar question of what triggered the massive outage.

More at:

| National Security

Despite media spin, there’s still overwhelming evidence Joe Biden knew of family’s business dealings

For more than three years, Joe Biden has refused to address the avalanche of evidence about his family’s corrupt influence-peddling while he was VP, writes columnist Miranda Devine.

Despite media spin, there’s still overwhelming evidence Joe Biden knew of family’s business dealings

FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, accused of lying to the FBI, claimed Hunter and Joe Biden each were paid a $5 million bribe by the owner of corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Joe Biden and his Praetorian Guard in the media are over the moon about the indictment last week of FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, a US-Israeli dual national accused of having lied to the FBI when he claimed Hunter and Joe Biden each were paid a $5 million bribe by the owner of corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma. 

For more than three years, Joe Biden has refused to address the avalanche of evidence about his family’s corrupt influence-peddling while he was VP. 

He has refused to address evidence that he was involved in son Hunter and brother Jim’s lucrative shakedown of shady characters in the world’s most corrupt countries — where he was in charge of US policy. 

He has lied point-blank when confronted, claiming to have no knowledge of Hunter and Jim’s business dealings, despite dozens of proven instances when he met Hunter’s foreign business partners, and spoke to them at least two dozen times on speakerphone. 

But now, like a drowning man, the president suddenly has seized on the Smirnov indictment as vindication, making a rare live statement at the White House on Friday to assert that the impeachment inquiry against him is destroyed, and demanding that House Republicans drop their investigation, saying it was “an outrageous effort from the beginning.” 

Democratic hitmen Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Dan Goldman of New York have been taking to the airwaves to spin the Smirnov indictment into an absurd new Russia hoax, and Hunter’s pricey lawyer Abbe Lowell, in a new court filing Tuesday, declared that Smirnov has fatally tainted the case against Hunter and is proof that the president’s son is being unjustly prosecuted because of his last name. 

‘Straw man’ 

They have created a straw man out of Smirnov, pretending he was the “lead informant” of the impeachment inquiry.

But he was no such thing.

Smirnov wasn’t any kind of informant. 

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) could do nothing with Smirnov’s allegation, other than publicize it, because the FBI kept the informant secret, as well as the existence or otherwise of any “investigation.” 

The Smirnov indictment doesn’t mean Joe and Hunter are in the clear.

Far from it.

The evidence against them is overwhelming. 

Comer’s inquiry was well advanced before Smirnov’s allegation came onto the radar last July.

He had gathered evidence through bank records of millions of dollars from China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Kazakhstan being laundered through multiple shell companies for the Biden family, and jaw-dropping testimony from Hunter’s former business partners of Joe’s meetings with Hunter’s foreign benefactors right before big payments dropped.

The modus operandi of Biden corruption was well established. 

And that was even before the IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joe Ziegler testified to Congress about the corrupt interference by the DOJ on the Hunter Biden investigation that dragged on for five years in Delaware before US Attorney David Weiss authorized a sweetheart plea deal in which Hunter would cop to no felony and get blanket immunity against future prosecutions.

Shapley and Ziegler showed that Weiss could have charged Hunter on the felony tax and gun charges in 2019.

Instead, Weiss tried to let Hunter off scot-free and allowed the statute of limitations to run out on the most serious charges — having to do with Ukraine and Burisma — that would have led investigators to Joe Biden’s door. 

Smirnov is an FBI problem.

He was the bureau’s “trusted,” well-paid, long-term informant, by one estimate paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over 14 years.

The indictment states he has testified in multiple cases that likely led to convictions. 

Smirnov was authorized by the FBI to commit crimes, the indictment says, which puts him in an elite category of informant only used in national security or serious organized crime cases. 

Smirnov’s bribery allegation against the Bidens first emerged in what is called an FD-1023, an FBI record of information provided by a confidential human source. 

Vetting allegations 

Then-Pittsburgh US Attorney Scott Brady was tasked by then-Attorney General Bill Barr on Jan. 3, 2020, to vet allegations about Biden corruption that had been pouring into the DOJ, including from then-President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.

The aim was to quarantine misinformation from tainting the investigation Weiss was conducting into Hunter over tax, money-laundering and foreign-agent violations. 

Brady’s team found a mention of Hunter’s Ukraine dealings in a so-called FD-1023 report from Smirnov buried in the files of the Washington Field Office since 2017.

Smirnov was reinterviewed and delivered the bombshell allegation that he had been told by Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky that he had bribed then-VP Joe Biden and Hunter to get Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired. 

Brady’s team did its due diligence as far as it could within the limits of its brief.

It did not know Smirnov’s identity, but his FBI handler confirmed through his passport that Smirnov had traveled to Ukraine in 2015 and 2016, and that he was in London when he claimed he had another meeting.

Through open-source information, the team also confirmed that Burisma had bought a US gas company for $30 million, just as Smirnov had said Zlochevsky was planning on doing. 

The team also accessed DOJ money-laundering files and Treasury suspicious activity reports and found that Zlochevsky unusually had transferred $10 million to another entity in early 2014.

Hunter had joined Burisma’s board in April 2014. 

So there was sufficient smoke for Brady to forward the FD-1023 to Weiss’ office for further investigation, as was his brief.

Weiss has inserted a disingenuous line in his Smirnov indictment claiming Brady’s assessment was “closed.”

This is a bureaucratic smokescreen in which the FBI, after the handover to Weiss, declared the Pittsburgh assessment “closed” but that did not mean that the allegations were not found credible.

The opposite was the case, as Brady testified, and as Barr agreed. 

But Weiss refused to accept Brady’s briefing. Brady had to go over Weiss’ head to DOJ bosses to force him to take it. 

When finally Brady managed to brief Delaware, in October 2020, the investigators were excluded, and were so startled when they learned what had happened that they went back to Congress to update their testimony to say that they should have been shown the FD-1023 and they would have thoroughly investigated the allegations. 

Instead, it took almost three years, and Hunter’s collapsed plea deal, for Weiss to start investigating the allegation as he should have done in June 2020 rather than hiding it.

He was content to let Hunter’s plea deal slide through with blanket immunity whether the allegation was true or not. 

In the end, the bleeding obviously needs to be pointed out. 

The company they keep 

Let’s say it’s true that Smirnov did make up bribery allegations to smear Joe before the 2020 election and that the Russians were involved. 

The fact is that if Joe and Hunter and Jim Biden hadn’t kept such terrible company, they wouldn’t be at risk of falling victim to such alleged operations.

What is Joe doing having dinner at Café Milano with Russian oligarch Elena Baturina, a Vladimir Putin crony who had just given $3.5 million to Hunter’s business?

Why is Hunter taking $1 million a year from Burisma during his father’s vice presidency, at a time when Zlochevsky is under corruption investigation not just in Ukraine but in a joint operation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Squad and the FBI?

f the Bidens hadn’t taken millions of dollars from so many dubious characters in corrupt countries, suspicion would not hang heavy over their heads.

They endangered national security with their reckless greed. 

More at:

Share the News