Measures missing to prevent Rogers outage, technology and cybersecurity analyst warns
On Friday morning, Canadians woke up to a national outage of Rogers telecommunications services. It interrupted wireless, cable and internet services across the country. It also directly impacted affiliated brands Fido and Chatr, emergency services, payment systems, and travel networks.
Most Canadians were without these services for more than 12 hours.
According to Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri, the outage followed a "maintenance update."
“We now believe we’ve narrowed the cause to a network system failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction early Friday morning," the statement from Staffieri reads. "We disconnected the specific equipment and redirected traffic, which allowed our network and services to come back online over time as we managed traffic volumes returning to normal levels.”
As networks were interrupted, this brought up cybersecurity concerns for Canadians.
With Rogers down today. Can we start talking about the real cybersecurity risk of so much of our communication being based with one telecoms infrastructure. We need to diversify for more than just consumer protection. National security risks is a real concern here too.
— Joshua Randall (@JoshuaDrandall) July 8, 2022
Technology and cybersecurity analyst, Steven Lachance, explained that this isn’t a cybersecurity issue but a national risk issue.
“The bad news is that it was due to a routine maintenance problem and maintenance updates that went wrong," he told Yahoo Canada. "Critical national infrastructure that we depend on did not have any kind of redundancy or safety measures in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening."
He added that the services Canadians rely on could not survive the outage since the technology infrastructure is a lot more fragile than we’d like to think.
Canadians have also taken to social media to express their concerns around monopolized industries.
This Canada-wide Rogers outage really highlights the dangers of monopolized industries. When one malfunction can put half of a country’s economy on pause, we have a big problem.
— Sebastian Stern (@sternseb) July 8, 2022
Because of the Rogers outage, millions of Canadians couldn't call 911 yesterday. Hospitals couldn't call in staff. There was no way to call families so that they could say goodbye to their loved ones at end of life.
Now…do you all see why corporate monopolies are dangerous?
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) July 9, 2022
Lachance said the Rogers outage raises many questions around ownership of what is now critical infrastructure for society and the economy.
“I think we have to question whether we want critical national infrastructure like this to be privately owned, and whether or not it should be publicly owned, just like our road networks," he said.
Credits coming, but watch out for scams
Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri has indicated that customers will be credited following the outage.
“We will proactively credit all customers automatically for yesterday’s outage," the statement from Staffieri reads. "This credit will be automatically applied to your account and no action is required from you.”
With this announcement, Canadians started receiving phishing text messages offering credit.
PSA: If you are a @Rogers customer, do NOT reply to this text message or any other. This is a scam. Rogers will credit your account automatically following Friday’s outage. No action is required on your part. Again, do NOT reply to these messages. pic.twitter.com/DM38F1U0PX
— Jacqui Budden (@JacquiDelaney) July 10, 2022
#scam #rogersoutage #rogers
Don't click on it! pic.twitter.com/Ze0GpL3LzT
— Pᴀᴜʟ Dᴀᴠɪs 🎗 #socialmedia #ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇsᴀғᴇᴛʏ (@pauldavisSNS) July 9, 2022
🚨 POSSIBLE SCAM
Just got this. I did NOT click so can’t tell you more but please consider all the possible scams that could come out of the Rogers Outage. Please tell others to be careful. #rogersoutage pic.twitter.com/cu4q6lxO7u
— Brenda Slomka (@brenda_slomka) July 9, 2022
Rogers is aware of the phishing texts and released a statement Saturday afternoon advising Canadians that all credit will be applied automatically, without the need to respond to an SMS.
We are aware of scam text messages being sent claiming to offer credits in the wake of yesterday’s service interruptions. We will apply the credit proactively to your account & no action is required. If you receive a suspicious SMS, please forward it to 7726 (SPAM).
— RogersHelps (@RogersHelps) July 9, 2022