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Virgin Media crashes leaving thousands of Brits unable to access their TV services

Virgin Media customers have been unable to access TV services for more than five hours today after the firm suffered a 'major power outage' nationwide.

Problems first surfaced at around 10:30 GMT, with people complaining of issues with their internet, TV and trying to make calls.

The company confirmed there had been an outage but said it only affected TV services.

Virgin Media tweeted: 'We're aware of an issue currently affecting TV services and are working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible.' 

It later revealed that some channels had been restored and said the issue had been caused by 'a major power outage'. 

Virgin Media customers have been unable to access TV services for more than five hours after the firm suffered a 'major power outage' nationwide 

According to Down Detector, which monitors website outages, there was a peak of around 18,000 issues reported at 11:00 GMT 

According to Down Detector, which monitors website outages, there was a peak of around 18,000 issues reported at 11:00 GMT. 

People across the country have reported problems, with hot spots in big cities such as London, Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester.

One Virgin Media customer tweeted the company saying: 'What's happening with Broadband in PE4? lost all connection can't even contact on phone or app.' 

Another added: 'Whole tv is down, Glasgow, what's going on? Directs to a website that's also down, the big question is, have you been hacked? 

'And is my personal info safe?! When will it be back up?'

One customer, Alex MacLeod, tweeted: 'Can you inform us what is happening with TV signal in Perth. I have no tv and can't get onto the website. It also appears to be down. Tried phoning but can't get through.'

At 13:45 GMT Virgin Media wrote: 'We have now restored several channels with customers able to watch BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, ITV+1 and Channel 4. TV360 customers are also able to access apps on their box.

'We're working to restore all channels as quickly as possible and continue to work towards having this resolved this afternoon.'

Virgin Media customers have taken to Twitter to complain about an outage with the network

People across the country have reported problems, with hot spots in big cities such as London, Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester

The company issued another update at 15:30 GMT, writing: 'Engineers are on site working to restore TV services after a major power outage.

'We are currently attempting to restore more channels. As we do this, it may mean customers temporarily lose access to previously restored channels.

'We recognise this is frustrating for customers and apologise again for the inconvenience caused. We are doing everything we can to get services back as quickly as possible.' 

Virgin Media also suffered an outage last week, with more than 2,000 customers reporting a problem with their internet connection.

Down Detector gets network status updates from various sources including social media and reports submitted to its website. 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN THEORIES FOR WHY THE INTERNET KEEPS BREAKING? 

Human error

People often assume any kind of web disruption is linked to hacking, but actually more mundane reasons such as human error tend to be the more likely cause, experts say.

IT employees for companies, tech giants and even supermarkets make mistakes, which one cyber security expert blamed on them being 'under pressure' and having to take shortcuts.

Meta's outage on October 4 was ultimately blamed on user error, when a faulty update disconnected its servers from the internet.

Hacking

There have been increases in the sophistication of hacking, experts say, with numerous Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks seen recently, including on Microsoft, Google and other massive companies.

DDoS attacks work by flooding a victim's system with 'internet traffic' in an attempt to overload it and force it offline.

Meanwhile, ransomware — a form of cyberattack which locks files and data on a user's computer and demands payment in order for them to be released back to the owner — is also on the rise.

The head of Britain's cybersecurity agency said it was 'the most immediate danger' of all cyber threats faced by the UK, and businesses need to do more to protect themselves.

Too much traffic

One cyber security expert told MailOnline that tech giants and other businesses had been hit by an unexpected surge in traffic because of the Covid pandemic, putting strain on their infrastructure.

He said these 'sheer numbers of more online users and traffic' was causing a lot of the outages. 

Centralised systems

Many companies, including Meta, have centralised back-end systems which means there is a single point of failure.

It Meta's case, this means it can affect Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, as is what happened last month.

An internet scientist has agreed that centralised systems are a problem, while another expert said Meta's outage showed the advantage of having a 'more reliable' decentralised system that doesn't put 'all the eggs in one basket'. 

Ageing web infrastructure

Having been born in 1989, the World Wide Web is now an 'ageing infrastructure', according to several experts.

And with the increase in traffic and volume of users on the internet, systems are coming under more and more pressure.

'Businesses must test their infrastructure and have multiple failsafes in place,' one expert warned.