In separate incidents across fourteen states on Monday, 911 services were down. Nervous Americans wonder if the deep state is testing their command and control abilities ahead of the upcoming election. The cause appears to be something much more mundane, but almost as troubling.
ECN is in contact with CenturyLink to determine the cause of the multi-state 911 outage affecting MN. If you have an emergency and cannot get through to 911, call the 24-hour, 10 digit non-emergency number. Find them here: https://t.co/HjYd0l1A5g. Please do not test the system. pic.twitter.com/pbU4WSLQMb
— Minnesota ECN (@MnDPS_ECN) September 29, 2020
What wiped out 911?
For about an hour Monday evening, The Hill reports “law enforcement agencies across the country reported 911 outages.” Starting around 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, Police departments “across Minnesota, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada” along with several other states, reported their emergency dispatch systems “were not functional.” Most systems were back online by about 8:15 the same evening.
At the same time, Microsoft had everyone on edge. News outlets rushed to connect the two incidents, even though it’s not likely that their cloud services would impact 911 emergency hotlines. NBC reported Monday that tech giant’s status page for its cloud services said “any user may experience access problems for Microsoft 365 services.” Engineers in Redmond are scratching their heads over that too. They know what went wrong on their end, their latest patch blew out. It shouldn’t have had any effect at all on cop communications.
“We’ve seen no indication that the multi-state 911 outage was a result of yesterday’s Azure service interruption.” If anything, Azure was a target too. The Deep State’s fingerprints aren’t on any crime but the speculation swirls that yesterday’s events look a little bit spooky. Especially when you throw in the ransomware hack attack that crippled Universal Health Services over the weekend. Just when Christopher Wray wants to emphasize the threat of Russian’s over China or Iran, a Russia linked hacker group locked up all the files of “one of the largest healthcare providers in the US.”
— Battle Programmer Yuu @ Bed (@netspooky) September 29, 2020
CenturyLink takes the heat
The police in Minnesota have been defunded and all but at least they paid their phone bill. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Communications Board called them up and chewed them out for pulling their plug. They had to resort to posting on twitter for residents in trouble to dial the full 10 digit number if they needed help. They didn’t get their 911 system turned back on until 9:45 p.m. Eastern time. In Delaware, anyone calling for help simply got a busy signal.
CenturyLink and other regional voice carriers rely on a pair of companies that most people never even heard of to route emergency calls. Public Safety Answering Points act a nodes where “emergency calls are terminated before reaching the actual emergency service call centers.” As America learned last night, they are also “choke points in 911 traffic, which explains why multiple emergency services across different states had issues.” According to reports, “a PSAP provider named Intrado” was most likely the culprit.
Battle Programmer Yuu posted, “it appears a VOIP PSAP service called Intrado @IntradoSafety appears to be having some issues that are affecting PSAPs in several states. Intrado and TCS are the biggest players in the E911 routing and interconnection space. They make it possible for CLECs, wireless providers, voip providers, etc to route E911 calls to PSAPs nationally without having a relationship with each.” In some states they dial 112 instead of 911 but the calls still go through these providers. Now we know where the failure happened, but nobody is saying a word about how, so speculation about the Deep State just adds to all the Halloween season spookiness. No matter what Mark Zuckerberg says, this is not a normal election.