If you call Guilford County government and you’re unable to get through or can’t make out what the county employee is saying, it’s likely that the problem is not your $1,000 iPhone.
Some departments in Guilford County government have been experiencing phone problems since last week after a service provider, Bandwidth, which supports the county’s phone system, was the victim of a cyberattack that has been impairing the county’s phone service.
Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen posted the following statement on social media and elsewhere on the web after some customers of his office experienced problems: “We apologize but Guilford County is having problems with its telephone system which is impacting call quality at the Register of Deeds, The County is working to resolve these issues asap.”
When asked about the issue, Thigpen said it was his understanding that the problem had affected “multiple departments” in Guilford County government.
“My staff told me yesterday it’s gotten a bit better,” Thigpen said on Tuesday, Oct. 5, adding that he was checking on the issue to make certain that was the case.
Thigpen said he wasn’t sure how severe the problem had been in other county departments.
Assistant Guilford County Manager Jason Jones stated that the problem was a cyberattack on the service provider.
“We did experience some very intermittent inbound/outbound calling issues last week,” Jones wrote in an email. “The County phone issues were a result of a cyberattack against Bandwidth, who provides service to our phone vendor and many other providers around the world.”
Jones went on to add that Bandwidth has now implemented a series of changes intended to resolve the issues.
“As of the most recent update this morning, the County phone system is currently experiencing normal calling,” Jones wrote on Tuesday.
Bandwidth informed its customers last week that: “a number of critical communications service providers have been targeted by a rolling DDoS attack. While we have mitigated much intended harm, we know some of you have been significantly impacted by this event.”
It went on to say, “We are working around the clock to support your teams and minimize the impact of this attack. Our account managers and support teams have been actively reaching out to customers individually to address any issues. If you are experiencing problems and you haven’t heard from us yet, please let us know.”
A DDos attack – “distributed denial-of-service” attack– is a targeted attack by hackers to disrupt normal traffic for a server or network by flooding the target with internet traffic and overwhelming its ability to function normally. Sometimes those attacks are part of a ransomware attack but it’s not known if ransomware was involved in this attack.
Thigpen put the word out that customers of the deeds office can go to guilforddeeds.com and use the chat function or can email his office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He said staff was attempting to respond to those inquiries as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile anyone with an analog phone was doing fine. Technology is only helpful when it works. Guilford County screwed the pooch by putting all their eggs in a digital basket with VOIP because why not, it was the popular and allegedly cost effective thing to do. It would be nice to have an analog failsafe to at least support public safety.
I think these cyber criminals are testing weaknesses for a possible final attack on the U.S. No doubt we have similar capability.
Sometime, somewhere, somebody is going to set the whole thing off. Happened in WWI, can happen again.
There will be nowhere to hide.