It was an evening in March and thousands of people who were seeking help failed to get. Customers of AT&T Wireless attempted dialing 911 but failed to get connected. The emergency response systems didn’t work and later local emergency officials of Alabama, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Indiana, Texas, Tennessee and few more were prompted to ask calling an alternate number or text to authorities if similar situation is repeated.
Currently the Federal Communications Commission is learned being investigating the mis happening and AT&T says it was a service issue.
Similarly many callers in Dallas couldn’t reach the emergency response number and were put on hold during spikes in calls. Officials said the problem was clubbed by calls from T-Mobile customers with shortage of manpower to handle the calls.
The city has thereafter allotted $2 million for the upgradation of the system and increase people handling the calls. It has also urged the wireless carrier to disable a feature that repeatedly calls the number 911 even if the initial call fails to get through.
In 2016 October the cellphones of many started calling 911 repeatedly after a link was clicked from a malicious Twitter post targeting faulty phone software. Investigators say it is probably the largest cyber attack on emergency response system.
For about twelve hours in a period of two days the 911 call centers were flooded with calls in about a dozen states . An arrest too was made but of a teen from Washington, accused of sharing the link with the intention of a prank. Apple later vowed to be putting safeguards to prevent any such incident in future from its iPhones.
All these incidents reveal 911 systems have lately become vulnerable to malicious hackers and several phones can be such programmed that can crash the emergency networks.
The incidents also urge the need to switch to next-generation technology instead of relying on the decade old system for 911. Internet-based system can handle the calls as well as suspicious activities better.
A data reveals 70 percent of the calls to 911 are made through cellphone and hence technology should be introduced across the nation, in all the states, to fend off abuse or buggy software causing repeated calling to the number.
The newest technology offers better defensive tools to call centers and repetitive or malicious calls can be flagged and diverted to detect genuinity.
However, it is not easy to implement as lots of fund is required to upgrade the system.
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