Massachusetts cyberattack firewall causes 911 shutdown

Firewalls designed to prevent network attacks and hacks are to blame 911 outage hit Massachusetts this week, state officials said Wednesday.

Massachusetts’ 911 system was down for about two hours Tuesday, leaving anyone unable to reach emergency services using the emergency number.

In a statement Wednesday, the Massachusetts 911 Department determined the outage, which lasted from 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., was due to a security feature that prevents cyberattacks, although that reason is still under consideration.

While some calls go unfilled, the state said the system “allows dispatch centers to identify callers’ phone numbers and return those calls.” As a result, the Department is not aware of any emergencies being negatively impacted by power outages.

“The Massachusetts 911 Department is deeply committed to providing modern, reliable 911 services to all residents and visitors,” said Frank Pozniak, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State 911 Department, in a statement. in Massachusetts during an emergency.” “The Department will take all necessary steps to prevent future occurrences.”

At the time of the outage, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said it was important for residents to know other ways to get help, especially amid Hot weather facing Northeast. He advised people to contact their local police department if necessary.

“Also, if you have any medical-related, EMS-related or fire-related issues, you can go and pull up your local call box, which is the red light box that the fire department puts in local street corners, to get medical care that way,” he said.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said people should not worry about calling the right emergency number or facility and should simply contact the nearest authorities.

At Tufts Medical Center, officials said operations were not affected by the power outage.

“Our internal emergency number for Public Safety remained active and operational during the shutdown and appropriate responders were available,” said Jeremy Lechan, director of media relations for the hospital. can be contacted in this way from within the hospital. “We are delighted to hear that the issue has been resolved and that people in need outside of hospital can once again receive the medical support they require.”

Officials at Massachusetts General Hospital also reported no problems related to the outage, and a spokesman for the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association said he was not aware of the problem.

The disruption in Massachusetts caused confusion in other northeastern states, where some residents also received notifications on their phones. But authorities in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont all said their systems remained operational.

“We are aware that some individuals in Vermont received wireless notification of the event in Massachusetts,” said Barbara Neal, executive director of the Vermont 911 Innovation Council. “The official reason for that is unknown but it may be related to individuals who registered for the Massachusetts alert system or were at or near the Massachusetts border when the wireless alert was issued by Massachusetts.”

Several years ago, Massachusetts experienced occasional waves 911 power outage. At the time, it was thought that Louisiana-based CenturyLink’s outage was affecting some Verizon client. In April, workers installed light poles in Missouri cut into a fiber optic line, disrupting 911 service for emergency agencies in Nebraska, Nevada and South Dakota.

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