Technology

For Orange, the failure of emergency numbers would be linked to a software bug

Orange explains. The incumbent has just published the results of its internal investigation, after the tragic breakdown of emergency numbers that occurred last week, which led to the death of at least five people, including that of a child aged 28. months in Vendée. For the operator, there is no doubt: “this is indeed a software malfunction”.

“On June 2, from 4:45 p.m. to midnight, Orange’s voice services as well as access to certain emergency services were disrupted nationally. During this period approximately 11,800 calls, or 11% of the total. calls, were not routed to the emergency services “, specifies the staff of the operator. For him, “the malfunction concerned the interconnection between mobile voice and voice over IP services on the one hand and those hosted on the switched network on the other hand”, on which the majority of service numbers are located. emergency.

The fault would be “following an operation to modernize and increase the capacity of the network, which began in early May, to respond to the increase in traffic”, indicates the operator. And to point the finger at failures at the level of the calls-servers, this equipment ensuring the passage of communications over IP to the PSTN, where the emergency numbers are hosted. While confirming that this malfunction would follow a software bug on these call-servers, without however naming the publisher of the equipment concerned.

Orange is committed

“This software failure is now identified by the supplier partner of the equipment concerned and a corrective has been sent”, just informed the management of the operator. Note that Orange will participate in particular in the audit to be conducted by ANSSI, the French cybersecurity gendarme, to shed light on this incident with dramatic consequences. If it will not be published for two months, the operator is committed to improving its alert process.

The operator has thus undertaken to reduce the time taken to trigger a crisis unit from two hours to a maximum of 30 minutes, in the event of a disruption affecting calls to emergency services and vital services at national level. It will also propose to set up a dedicated number, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for stakeholders (State services, CHU, samu, etc.) in the event of a malfunction on the emergency numbers.

Orange CEO Stéphane Richard, who made a public apology just after the incident, must also be heard next Wednesday by the Economic Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. “We want to understand what may have happened and ensure that it does not happen again,” LREM deputy Roland Lescure, who chairs this commission, told AFP. To date, five suspicious deaths have been observed in Morbihan, Haute-Saône, Vendée, Reunion Island, and Bouches-du-Rhône.

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