Singtel-owned Optus says massive Australia outage was after software upgrade

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian telecoms provider Optus said on Monday a massive outage that effectively cut off 40% of the country’s population and sparked a political firestorm was caused by “changes in routing information” following a “routine software upgrade”.

More than 10 million Australians were affected by the 12-hour blackout at the telco-owned Singapore telco on November 8, sparking anger and frustration among customers and raising wider concerns about the telecoms infrastructure.

Optus said in a statement that an initial investigation showed the company’s network was affected by “changes to routing information from an international peering network” early that morning, “following a routine software upgrade”.

“These changes to routing information propagated through multiple layers of our network and exceeded preset security levels on key routers that could not handle them,” the company said.

“This resulted in these routers disconnecting from the Optus IP Core network to protect themselves.”

The project to restore the routers was so large that “in some cases (it) required Optus to physically reconnect or restart routers, which required dispatching people across a number of sites in Australia”, it added.

The sheer scale of the reconnection project meant that investigating the cause also “took longer than we would have liked”.

The company added that it had “made changes to the network to resolve this issue so it cannot happen again”.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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