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Massachusetts reveals cause of 911 outage

A cybersecurity firewall has been blamed for causing two hours of disruption to Massachusetts’ 911 system.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety said in a statement that a preliminary investigation conducted by its 911 division and vendor Comtec “determined that the outage was due to the firewall, a safety feature that provides protection against cyber attacks and hacks.”

“The firewall blocked calls to the 911 dispatch center,” it said. “An initial investigation of the incident by Comtec has confirmed that the outage was not the result of a cyberattack or hacking.”

“However, the exact reason why the firewall blocked calls to the dispatch centre is currently under investigation,” it added.

Massachusetts’ 911 emergency call system was restored hours after being outage, officials say

Fire call boxes continued to function during a statewide 911 system outage across Massachusetts on Tuesday, June 18. Shown here is one of the call boxes in Somerville. (Brian Snyder/Reuters/Reuters)

Comtec did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox Business on Wednesday.

“While a thorough investigation into the cause continues, Comtech has advised state 911 that it has applied a technical solution to ensure this will not happen again,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety said, without elaborating.

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Ambulances in Boston, Massachusetts

A Boston EMS ambulance will depart from Boston Medical Center in June 2023. The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety said Wednesday that it has “not received any reports of emergencies” during the ambulance service suspension. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Frank Pozniak, executive director of the state 911 division, said Wednesday that officials are “committed to providing reliable, state-of-the-art 911 service to all Massachusetts residents and visitors in the event of an emergency.”

“The ministry will take all necessary measures to prevent a recurrence in the future,” he said, adding, “We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation during the power outage.”

911 call center in Malden, Massachusetts

An emergency medical dispatcher coordinates an ambulance in April 2020 in Marden, Massachusetts. (David Degner/Getty Images/Getty Images)

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The system first went down at about 1:15 p.m. local time on Tuesday, and was later restored at about 3:15 p.m.