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Bright House's Tampa system goes down; Indy VOD servers breached

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 8:40am
Mike Robuck

A large chunk of Bright House Networks subscribers in its Tampa Bay system were without voice, video and data services yesterday due to a software issue.

According to a story in The St. Petersburg Times, some Bright House Networks customers throughout Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough and Manatee counties were without phone, cable and high-speed Internet services yesterday. The service outages started around 10:40 a.m., but a spokeswoman for the cable operator said this morning that service was restored around 5 p.m. the same day.

The outages were reportedly due to a software bug in the Cisco core routing system that Bright House Networks uses in its Tampa Bay system, which accounted for the services being down across such a wide area.

"We rely on and are proud of the strategic partnership we have developed with Cisco as our primary network data infrastructure provider," a Bright House Networks spokeswoman said. "This partnership facilitates immediate technical engagement and management visibility from the Cisco team. We relied on those resources to provide technical expertise during the event, and we will continue to rely on this partnership to ensure that we are providing the best service experience possible."

Bright House has more than 1 million customers in its Tampa Bay market, but not all of them were affected.

Bright House Networks, which is the nation's sixth-largest cable operator, was one of the first cable operators in the industry to effectively compete with Verizon when the telco started offering its services in the Tampa Bay area.

Bright House Networks also recently sent a letter to subscribers warning of a security breach in its video-on-demand servers. According a Bright House Networks spokeswoman, only the VOD servers in the company's Indianapolis system were breached.

"Recently, we were made aware that an unauthorized source gained access to our servers and, as a result, historical customer data back to June 22, 2011, was exposed," the letter said. "There has been no indication that such customer VOD data was actually accessed or retrieved or improperly used. However, we do want you to be aware that the possibility exists that suggest that some limited VOD data was exposed to an unauthorized source."

Bright House Networks also said in its letter that it had taken immediate action to secure the system and to prevent a similar breach from happening again. It also said Bright House subscribers should monitor their accounts and report any suspicious or unauthorized activity to the company.

The letter said that customer names, addresses, phone numbers and Bright House Network account numbers were exposed during the breach. Sensitive financial information and private data, such as passwords, PIN codes, and credit card and social security numbers, were not compromised. Bright House said sensitive customer data is not stored on its VOD servers.

"We have no evidence that any personal data was actually retrieved or used in any fashion, and we've asked customers to report to us any unauthorized or suspicious activity on their accounts," Bright House wrote in a statement. "Because of the type of breach, at this time there is no indication this information was retrieved."

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