|Winona Cueva |||Aug 24, 2014 05:43 AM EDT|
Charter Communications based in Stamford, Connecticut is the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S. serving 29 states.
Charter Communications isn't giving a detailed explanation on what caused the widespread Internet outage that affected its subscribers across the U.S. but several customers are now pointing to a massive hacking of its DNS servers as a likely reason.
The outage that began late Saturday afternoon affected thousands of customers from Minnesota to the Carolinas and other areas where the Stamford-based cable provider, the fourth largest in the U.S., has footprints.
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Charter spokeswoman Kim Haas said they were aware of the Internet outage and were working round-the-clock to restore the service, but declined to give further details.
Thousands of disgruntled netizens reported having difficulties contacting Charter's hotlines, which apparently had been clogged by complaint calls coming from all over the country.
Many took to social media to report that their Internet signal had been intermittent for hours and even days prior to Saturday afternoon's complete outage.
Charter officials reached by media outlets late on Saturday declined to give reasons for the widespread outage but said they were "investigating the incident."
Customers, on the other hand, tried to help one another with solutions to their Internet problem by posting on a forum called downdetector.com.
Here, some said they managed to get back online by changing their Domain Name System, or DNS settings, to something different from Charter, such as changing it to Google's Public DNS.
Google claims to have the largest DNS service in the world, operating name servers for public use at the IP addresses 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 for IPv4 service, and 2001:4860:4860::8888 for IPv6 access.
Several Charter customers confirmed that shifting to the Google DNS restored their Internet connection, bolstering the suspicion floated by technical experts that Charter may be experiencing a massive DNS attack that could take some time to fix.
Another online forum was more direct, posting, "ISIS takes our Charter DNS Servers, half of USA Charter is broken."
A North Carolina customer named Roo Bears Devine said he had just gotten off the phone with a Charter representative, who confirmed that their DNS servers had been hacked.
"There may be truth to all that talk about the ISIS hacking our servers," Devine confirmed, citing the Charter representative.
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