Dish Network confirms network outage was a cybersecurity breach

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Dish Networks exhibit at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.

Justin Solomon | CNBC

Dish Network, one of the largest television providers in the United States, confirmed on Tuesday that a previously disclosed “network outage” was the result of a cybersecurity breach that affected its internal communications systems and customer-facing support sites.

Shares dropped over 4% on the news and a double-downgrade from Bank of America.

“Certain data was extracted,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. The acknowledgment is an evolution from last week’s earnings call, where it was described as an “internal outage.”

Dish Networks’ website was down for multiple days beginning last week, but the company has now disclosed that “internal communications [and] customer call centers” remain affected by the breach. Dish said it had retained outside experts to assist in evaluating the problem.

The intrusion took place on the morning of Feb. 23, the same day the company reported its fourth-quarter earnings. “This morning, we experienced an internal outage that’s continuing to affect our internal servers and IT telephony,” Dish CEO W. Erik Carlson said at that time. “We’re analyzing the root causes and any consequences of the outage, while we work to restore the affected systems as quickly as possible.”

Customers have also faced “authentication issues” while trying to access paid TV channel apps such as MTV or Starz using their Dish Network logins, BleepingComputer reported. The Verge reported that a Dish manager sent a message to their employees warning them that an “internal system issue” meant they would be unable to access Dish’s systems remotely.

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