Apologies from Rogers’ boss

The fallout from a massive network outage at Rogers Communications that shut down internet and mobile services across much of Canada remained in the spotlight Saturday, even as the company restored most services and began offering an explanation. from what has occured.

The widespread outage, which began early Friday morning, brought communications to a standstill across all sectors, including health care, law enforcement and the financial industry. Many 911 services were unable to receive incoming calls, several hospitals reported service hits, and debit transactions stopped when Interac went offline.

Small business owners were among the hardest hit by the outage, which left them unable to process debit card payments.

Sharif Ahmed, owner of the Plantforsoul plant store in Toronto’s west end, said the blackout left him feeling helpless as he turned away customers who had no cash.

“It pretty much stopped my business,” he said in an interview on Saturday. “Most people don’t use cash anymore, so I pretty much sat in my office doing nothing.”

Abruptly losing the ability to accept card payments is a “big deal,” he said.

“We just can’t stop, we’re paying rent and everything.”

At nearby Caked Coffee, owner Supreet Arora said customers walked in thinking only their Wi-Fi and cell phones were affected, only to find the cafe had no Wi-Fi either.

“They came and you want to help them, (but) there is no Wi-Fi here,” he said.

He said he forgot to tell people that he could only accept cash until after the food was prepared. She served them anyway, adding that many customers came back later to pay their bills.

#Rogers CEO apologizes for #outage, says it came after network maintenance update

Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri issued a statement Saturday afternoon saying service had been restored and the company’s “networks and systems are nearly fully operational.”

He said the company continues to monitor its network for issues and investigate the root cause of the problems.

“We now believe we have narrowed the cause down to a network system failure following a maintenance update on our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction on Friday morning,” he said.

Staffieri apologized for the outage, adding that “we are particularly concerned that some customers were unable to reach emergency services and we are addressing the issue as an urgent priority.”

Richard Leblanc, a professor of governance, law and ethics at York University in Toronto, said the outage presents a learning opportunity for threat actors such as Russian state-sponsored hackers. He said those parties can now see how vulnerable Canadian industry, financial institutions and health care systems are to an attack on a telecommunications provider.

“This could have been catastrophic for the country if it was a threat actor,” he said in a telephone interview.

Leblanc said the outage, Rogers’ second major in 15 months, makes clear that the federal government cannot simply trust telecommunications companies to do the right thing.

“I think it’s time for regulators, and this includes Industry Canada, the (Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission) and the Competition Tribunal, to start insisting on adequate, robust and independently audited internal controls so that there are no interruptions. like this,” he said.

While Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne described the disruption as “unacceptable,” Leblanc said that kind of talk must be followed by action.

“I think the regulators have the authority, they have the power, the question is: do they have the courage to use it?” he said.

CRTC spokeswoman Patricia Valladao said the telecommunications regulator is in contact with Rogers.

“Right now, our focus is on the outage and recovering from it,” he wrote in an email. “When it’s over, we will take all necessary steps to examine what happened and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.”

According to Netblocks, a UK-based organization that monitors cybersecurity, the outage knocked out about 25 percent of Canada’s observable internet connectivity at its peak.

Rogers said he will proactively credit customers for the outage, but did not provide details on the amount. The company said it is aware of spam text messages claiming to offer the credit and noted that customers would be automatically credited.

Leblanc said he expects to see class action lawsuits, as well as legal action from individual firms, that will try to quantify the cost of the outage.

“Lawyers are good at it, so if there’s a class action lawsuit, they can measure lost productivity, opportunity cost of not being able to work, missed meetings, missed opportunities, lost contracts, it’s significant,” he said. “If all these millions of people lose a day of their working lives, they are not going to recover with a credit.”

Rogers did not respond to multiple requests for comment Saturday from The Canadian Press about the number of customers affected and the credit customers will receive.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 9, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B)

Leave a Comment