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Dish hit by multiday outage after reported cyberattack

U.S. satellite television provider Dish is experiencing a multiday outage after a reported cyberattack, with customers unable to access streams, services or their accounts.

The disruption began early on Thursday when Dish customers said they could not access their television services or pay their bills. The outage appears to affect Dish’s main websites, apps and customer support systems, as well as Boost Mobile, a prepaid wireless carrier acquired by Dish in 2020. Dish has about 7.6 million television subscribers.

Dish's website currently displays the message: “We are experiencing a system issue that our teams are working hard to resolve."

Dish spokesperson Edward Wietecha told TechCrunch that the issue is being "investigated," adding that its Dish TV, Sling TV and wireless services are back up and running. "However, some of our corporate communications systems, customer care functions and websites were affected," said Wietecha. "Our teams are working hard to restore affected systems as quickly as possible and are making steady progress."

Dish website displaying a message explaining that it is experiencing service issues
Dish website displaying a message explaining that it is experiencing service issues

Image Credits: TechCrunch (screenshot)

Wietecha declined to answer TechCrunch's questions about the cause of the outage, despite several reports that the disruption could be due to a cybersecurity incident. Dish did not dispute that it had been hit by a cyberattack.

Multiple Dish employees told Bleeping Computer over the weekend that the organization had been hit by a cyberattack, with one claiming to have received a message from their manager that explained that the ongoing incident was "caused by an outside bad actor, a known threat agent," and that the company is unsure how they gained access. Another employee said that staff are seeing “blank icons” on their corporate machines, a typical side-effect of a ransomware attack.

Adding to mounting suggestions that Dish was hit by a potentially destructive attack, such as ransomware, an internal email obtained by The Verge instructs employees not to use Dish-issued laptops if they've been connected to the company network or its VPN, which allows its staff to remotely connect to internal systems. Employees working from home have been told not to log into their VPN, effectively preventing them from working.

TechCrunch will follow this outage as it develops.

Do you have more information about the Dish cyberattack? You can contact Carly Page securely on Signal at +441536 853968, or by email. You can also contact TechCrunch via SecureDrop.