ENISA has released a report which provides an overview of the root causes of outages and incidents in the European electronic communications sector during 2015 and an aggregation of the services and network assets that were impacted.
Incidents are reported on an annual basis by European Telecom Regulators under Article 13a of the Framework Directive (2009/140/EC) to ENISA and the European Commission. In 2015, 138 major incidents were reported, from 21 EU countries and 2 EFTA members while 9 countries reported no significant incidents. Most incidents reported involve mobile telephony, which was the most affected service in 2015. The most frequent causes for incidents are system failures.
Key findings include:
- Mobile Internet is the most affected service. In 2015 mobile Internet accounted for 44 percent of all reported incidents. Mobile internet and mobile telephony were the predominant affected services in the previous years too, except for 2014 where fixed telephony was the most affected.
- System failures are the dominant root cause of incidents. 70 percent of the 2015 incidents were caused by system failures or technical failures. In the system failures category, software bugs and hardware failures were the most common causes; affecting switches, routers and mobile base stations.
- Human errors affected on average more user connections per incident. In 2015 human errors were the root cause category involving most users affected, accounting for almost 2.6 million user connections on average per incident. Second place was taken by system failures with 2.4 million user connections on average per incident.
- Malicious actions are not focused on causing disruptions. The total number of incidents caused by malicious actions dropped to 2.5 percent in 2015 from 9.6 percent in 2014. This may indicate that the malicious actions are not necessarily aiming at causing unavailability of services, but might have other objectives. Nevertheless, these types of incidents (for example DDoS) had the most impact in terms of duration, causing on average almost two days of disruption per incident.