A simple T-Mobile misconfiguration left millions without mobile and internet for six hours


Fake DDoS: A software misconfiguration by T-Mobile engineers caused a cascading outage that left millions of U.S. citizens without mobile services or Internet for six hours

If you have been reading news and articles on websites since morning you would believe that some country has launched a humongous DDoS attack on the United States Internet infrastructure. Some said the DDoS attack originated from China others said Russia but in the end, there was no such DDoS attack but a simple software update that went horribly wrong.  The misconfiguration was so huge that it left millions of Americans wondering what had happened to their T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint powered mobile and Internet services. Add to that, conspiracy theorists had a field day by saying that it was a state-sponsored DDoS attack and would bring down the whole of American Internet and mobile services.

The issue was apparently caused by a misconfiguration at T-Mobile in the USA. The T-Mobile engineers were updating their network configuration software and it just went bad. The misconfiguration meant that many mobile users had to go without cell services or the Internet for nearly six hours. Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, claimed in a statement published at 845pm PT that it had “been experiencing a voice and text issue that has intermittently impacted customers in markets across the US” which started just after 12pm EDT, and continued through the day.

“This is an IP traffic-related issue that has created significant capacity issues in the network core throughout the day,” Sievert said. “Data services have been working throughout the day and customers have been using services like FaceTime, iMessage, Google Meet, Google Duo, Zoom, Skype, and others to connect. “I can assure you that we have hundreds of our engineers and vendor partner staff working to resolve this issue and our team will be working through the night as needed to get the network fully operational.”

However, this did little to cool the already troubled U.S. citizens. With the coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and the Black Lives Matter protest going on through the United States, the news of a large scale DDoS attack on the US infrastructure quickly spread like wildfire. Someone even published a map detailing the DDoS choke points on America.

However, all these news and updates about the U.S. Internet grid collapsing were just conspiracies over a software update that went horribly wrong. The T-Mobile has confirmed that the services are restored as of now and everything is back to normal.


About Author

"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments