Last night, between 6 p.m. and midnight, many users of the Orange network were unable to reach emergency numbers 15, 17, 18. Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, traveled to Tunis, hurried back to Paris and declared that it was about “serious and unacceptable dysfunctions”.
The government quickly organized an emergency meeting and called in Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, to find out more about the situation and quickly find a solution. According to Gerald Darmanin, this failure would have killed 3 people. The first in Morbihan suffered from “cardiovascular disease” and the other two reported victims were in Réunion.
Without being certain that the death of these three people is directly related to this mishap, Gérald Darmanin explains: “What is certain is that the people testified that they tried several times to call and did not manage to call the operator immediately If the people in need had great difficulties in reaching the ambulance service, the SAMU, the fire brigade and the police were of course in an extremely complicated situation.
Landline and alternative mobile numbers were quickly set up to find the reason for this problem. If Orange was particularly affected, Bouygues Telecom and Altice also said they have experienced some disruption.
Was that a cyber attack?
France is one of the countries most severely attacked by malicious actors, after the US. These hackers like to implement ransomware and other strategies to disrupt the proper functioning of a facility.
It is therefore natural to wonder whether telecommunications networks were the target of a cyber attack yesterday. Sources familiar with the matter promptly denied suspicion of malicious act. As a guest on TF1’s TV news, Olivier Véran said the incident would be linked to a maintenance issue.
An operation performed by Orange would have gone wrong and caused numerous random outages across the network. Gérald Darmanin will take stock of the situation during the day.