The FBI claims that a cyber attack caused the suicide hotline to be shut down
A cyberattack caused a near-day shutdown of the state’s new 988 mental health helpline late last year. Lawmakers are now calling on the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks.
“On Dec. 1, the 988 Lifeline voice calls were disabled as a result of a cybersecurity incident,” Danielle Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in an email.
The attack took place at the Intrado company, which provides telecommunication services for the helpline. The agency did not disclose details about who it believes launched the attack or what type of cyber attack occurred. Intrado is working with a third party to investigate the incident and law enforcement authorities have been notified of the breach.
Those who tried on December 1 to reach the helpline with suicidal or depressive thoughts were instead greeted with a message saying the line was “experiencing a service outage.” Text and chat services, however, remained available for those who needed help.