Measures missing to prevent Rogers outage, technology and cybersecurity analyst warns

·Contributing Reporter
·4-min read

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.

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.

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.

TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 24  -  as the The Rogers Headquarters Building at 333 Bloor Street East  in Toronto. October 24, 2021.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 24 - as the The Rogers Headquarters Building at 333 Bloor Street East in Toronto. October 24, 2021. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

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.

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.

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