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Dish says cybersecurity incident caused internal outage, IT data taken



Dish Network said a cybersecurity incident caused an internal outage that started Thursday and has stretched over several days impacting the company’s communications and customer-facing websites, with certain corporate IT data taken.


Dish first mentioned an internal systems outage last week during its quarterly earnings call, but had not disclosed the cause of the issue or said whether any information was compromised. The new disclosures came in a Tuesday, February 28, filing with the SEC.


In an 8-K, Dish said after the initial incident on February 23, it employed cybersecurity experts and outside advisors to evaluate the situation. Since then, Dish “has determined that the outage was due to a cyber-security incident and notified appropriate law enforcement authorities.”


According to the filing, on Monday, February 27, Dish “became aware that certain data was extracted from the Corporation’s IT systems as part of this incident.” It went on to say that it’s possible the investigation “will reveal that the extracted data includes personal information.”


Dish is continuing to investigate the extent of the incident with the assistance of third-party experts and advisors, with assessment of the impact ongoing. The type of data, including whether it involved customer or employee information, was not disclosed.


In a statement shared with Fierce, Dish said "The security of our customers' data is important to us, and if we learn that information was compromised, we'll take the appropriate steps and let any impacted customers know."


Dish delivers pay TV services via satellite and virtual MVPD Sling TV, as well as MVNO wireless service through its Boost Mobile brand as it also builds out a greenfield 5G network. Dish’s TV, wireless and data services were not disrupted from the outage, but its internal communications, customer call centers and internet sites have been impacted.


The Dish spokesperson noted customers have had trouble with account access and reaching call centers, and that while progress is being made it will still take time to resolve the issue.


"As a result of this incident, many of our customers are having trouble reaching our service desks, accessing their accounts, and making payments. We’re making progress on the customer service front every day, including ramping up our call capacity, but it will take a little time before things are fully restored," the Dish spokesperson stated.


Dish “is actively engaged in restoring the affected systems and is making steady progress,” the 8-K stated.


Dish previously hadn't shared a ton of information about the incident, which was first mentioned by Dish CEO Erik Carlson last Thursday on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. On Monday afternoon, Dish had shared a statement saying an investigation was underway and that the incident affected internal telephony and IT systems.


Customer-facing websites including BoostMobile.com, BoostInfinite.com, and Dish.com were down for a period of time, with the two latter still showing messages as of Wednesday that it's experiencing an internal systems issue.


The Verge obtained an internal memo from Carlson sent to Dish employees Tuesday morning, with the outlet reporting the chief executive as saying the company is “working around the clock to understand the issue and restore affected systems as quickly as possible” though it has “limited information at this time.”

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