Customers frustrated by days-long DISH outage

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UPDATE 2/28:  DISH has confirmed that it is dealing with a cybersecurity incident that took out its customer service lines, website, call centers and apps.  In an updated statement, the company says, “On February 23, we experienced a cybersecurity incident that has affected some of our internal communications, customer call centers, and internet sites. We immediately activated our incident response and business continuity plans to contain, assess and remediate the situation. We retained the services of cybersecurity experts and outside advisors to assist in the evaluation of the situation, and we notified appropriate law enforcement authorities. On February 27, we became aware that certain data was extracted from our IT systems as part of this incident. It’s possible the investigation will reveal that the extracted data includes personal information. The forensic investigation and assessment of the impact of this incident is ongoing. The security of our customers’ data is important to us, and if we learn that information was compromised, we’ll take the appropriate steps and let any impacted customers know. As a result of this incident, many of our customers are having trouble reaching our service desks, accessing their accounts, and making payments. We’re making progress on the customer service front every day, including ramping up our call capacity, but it will take a little time before things are fully restored. Our DISH TV, Sling TV, Wireless services, and data networks continue to operate and are up and running.”

ROCHESTER, N.Y. If you’re a DISH customer chances are you’ve been impacted by a major outage the company has been experiencing since late last week.

DISH customers can’t get through to the company over the phone, emails aren’t going through, the website is down and the apps aren’t working. A number of tech experts believe DISH has likely been hit by a major cyber-attack although the company itself has yet to confirm that.

Jack Prutzman of Bloomfield has been a DISH customer since 2013. His television service at home is still working.

“I have DISH Anywhere on my phone and I also have it on my computer and I tried it on my phone and it asked for my credentials, which it never does, and when I put my credentials in, it said it was not accessible and then the website was down,” he tells News10NBC.

Prutzman tried to call the 800-number provided on his bill.

“All I got was, ‘this is not a working phone number’ and then I Googled a whole bunch of other DISH numbers and they all said the same thing,” he says.

The only update to the situation which began on Thursday has been an alert posted to that reads, “Thank you for your patience. We are experiencing a system issue that our teams are working hard to resolve.”

Prutzman thinks the company should be more transparent.

“I’m thinking, ‘how can everything be down?’” he tells News10NBC. “‘How can the phone be down? How can the Internet be down. How come the email is down?’ And that’s when it dawned on me. They’ve got your checking account number and your routing number. And if this is a hostile takeover, how do I know the $113.61 is going to come out of my account versus $1,113.61? And that makes me nervous.”

The problem is that at the moment, he can’t turn off auto-pay.

“The only way I can change that information is to be able to get onto their site and edit my account number or take it off and the site is down,” he explains. “I also don’t want to have my information with someone that quite honestly can’t tell me what happened. If they got hacked, be honest about it but upfront with it.”

DISH has yet to say what caused the system error or whether customer information has been compromised in any way.

In a statement to News10NBC, a spokesperson for DISH says, “We experienced a systems issue with our corporate network on February 23 that is affecting our internal servers and telephone systems, and the issue is being investigated. Our DISH TV, Sling TV, Wireless services, and data networks continue to operate and are up and running. However, some of our corporate communications systems, customer care functions, and websites were affected. Our teams are working hard to restore affected systems as quickly as possible and are making steady progress.”