Feeds

Hardware failures cause more comms outages than hackers: EU

Cybergeddon postponed as incompetence trumps conspiracy again

Security for virtualized datacentres

If you're living in constant fear of a cybergeddon, here's a handy reality check. According to ENISA – the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security – has just produced its report into what caused 79 major communications outages in Europe in 2011-2012.

If you were having trouble with phone, mobile or Internet access in that period, it's far more likely that the problem was either a hardware or software failure in the network. The report finds that system failures caused 75 percent of incidents – compared to just eight incidents caused by malicious actions.

After system failure, the most common cause of telecommunication incidents is third party failure – mostly due to blackouts – with natural phenomena (six incidents) and human error (five) rounding out the table.

Drilling into the category of malicious actions, it becomes clear that the widespread fear that a lone hacker can destroy our telecommunications networks might be exaggerated. The malicious actions category doesn't only report on cyber-attacks (such as a DNS attack cited in the report as a case study) – it also included cable theft, the deliberate cut of a terrestrial cable, an accidental submarine cable cut, and a disgruntled employee setting fire to DSL equipment.

The systems most likely to suffer were network switches and home location registers – the latter partly feeding into mobile's dominance in incident reports.

Mobile systems – both telephony and Internet – were the most flaky. Not only did they experience half of all the incidents, the report states that mobile outages affected the greatest number of users (around 1.8 million subscribers per outage). Mobile telephony and internet recorded 48 and 49 incidents, respectively (with, of course, a large overlap between the two). Only 25 incidents were reported for fixed Internet – a little over half the failure rate of mobile – and there were 37 fixed telephony incidents reported.

Regrettably, the report doesn't identify the kinds of incidents by country, so The Register is unable to advise which nine countries in the EU had no incidents whatever.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.