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911 Service Restored After Multiple State Outages

911 emergency crime

Law enforcement agencies in at least four states experienced 911 service interruptions on Wednesday evening, with authorities in South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, and Nevada reporting outages in various cities. Residents were advised to either text 911 or use a landline for emergencies during the disruptions.

Fortunately, service has been mostly restored in the affected areas, including major cities like Sioux Falls, Rapid City in South Dakota, and Las Vegas. However, as of Thursday morning, some agencies, such as those in Del Rio, Texas, and Douglas and Chase counties in Nebraska, were still working on restoring full service.

The cause of the outages remains unclear, with officials stating that they were not malicious. The Del Rio Police Department attributed its outage to a major cellular carrier issue, emphasizing that it was not a problem with the city's systems.

Residents advised to text or use landlines during outages.
911 service disruptions reported in South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, and Nevada.
Service mostly restored in affected areas, including major cities.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has acknowledged the reports of 911-related outages and is currently investigating the matter to determine the root cause.

The recent outages have raised concerns about the vulnerability of the nation's 911 infrastructure, especially in light of a Department of Homeland Security assessment that highlighted the susceptibility of emergency services to cyberattacks. The assessment revealed that ransomware attacks have disrupted 911 networks and local police departments, posing a significant criminal threat to victims.

According to the assessment, cybercriminals often exploit stolen personal data for further criminal activities after hacking into systems. The interconnected nature of emergency service systems makes them more challenging to protect from cyber threats.

Local law enforcement and critical infrastructure companies receive bulletins like the DHS assessment to enhance preparedness against potential cyber incidents.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety confirmed the restoration of 911 service in the state, reassuring residents that the emergency system is fully operational and ready to respond promptly to any situation. The department emphasized that ensuring public safety is their top priority.

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