NWT gov’t network outage caused by ‘failed network switches’, not cyber-attack

anlene
1 Min Read

A network outage that took down Northwest Territories government email, phones, websites and 911 Tuesday afternoon was not caused by a cyber-attack or “any other malicious action,” says the NWT Infrastructure department.

Rather, it was the result of “two failed network switches.”

“Switches are network components that direct traffic on a network,” Infrastructure spokesperson Darren Campbell said in an email.

The government’s network went down shortly after noon on Tuesday. The outage affected most department services, including communication, healthcare systems, financial and human resources systems, and the emergency 911 phone line.

The NWT government and “its network support vendor together worked through the night to troubleshoot the issue,” Jennifer Lukas, another Infrastructure spokesperson, said in an email.

The switches were identified as the problem and replaced, but it’s unclear what led to their failure in the first place.

Most services were back online between 5 and 6 am Wednesday morning, and 911 was restored around 11:30 am that day.

The government is reviewing what happened in an attempt to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

The department said it’s not able to estimate right now how much the outage cost is.

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