Massive Internet Outage Takes Down Major Websites Around the Globe
A ‘Fastly-linked glitch’ occurred early this morning when the CDN (content delivery network) encountered a ‘service disruption. This disruption led to many major websites encountering major problems keeping their sites active.
This reason for the outage seems plausible to many. Couple it with the recent hack of the Colonial pipeline and the hack of one of America’s major meatpacking companies and it seems more suspicious.
In the past few months, we have seen more major hacks than we have been in years. Yes, hacks occur all the time, but rarely do so many occur in such a short timeframe that affects large sectors of the population.
DownDetector.com provided some insight into just how massive this disruption was.
You can see in the screenshot the outage affected sites like Reddit, Amazon, CNN, Hulu, and Spotify just to name a few.
Thousands of government, news and social media websites across the globe were coming back online Tuesday after getting hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to U.S.-based cloud company Fastly Inc (FSLY.N).
High traffic sites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, Paypal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times went down, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com. They came back up after outages that ranged from a few minutes to around an hour.
“Our global network is coming back online,” Fastly said.
One of the world’s most widely-used cloud-based content delivery network providers, the company earlier reported a disruption from a “service configuration” and did not explain.
“Incidents like this underline the fragility of the internet and its dependence on a patchwork of fragmented technology. Ironically, this also underlines its inherent strength and how quickly it can recover,” Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight said.
“The fact that an outage like this can grab headlines around the world shows how rare it is.”
Fastly, which went public in 2019 and has a market capitalization of under $6 billion, is far smaller than peers like Amazon’s AWS. The company’s content delivery network (CDN) helps websites move content using less-congested routes, enabling them to reach consumers faster.
“In the grand scheme of things, we actually think that this is a little bit of a positive for other CDNs and also just shows how difficult managing a CDN can be,” James Fish, analyst at Piper Sandler & Co, said.
Apart from Fastly, the other main CDN providers include Akamai Technologies, Cloudera and AWS.
“It certainly reminds us just how crucial so few sites and services are to our digital lives,” Neil Campling, global TMT analyst at Mirabaud Securities, said.
The United Kingdom’s attorney general earlier tweeted that the country’s main gov.uk website was down, providing an email for queries.
The disruption may have caused issues for citizens booking COVID-19 vaccinations or reporting test results, the Financial Times reported.
Websites operated by news outlets including the Financial Times, the Guardian and Bloomberg News also faced outages.
This outage shows without a doubt how fragile our infrastructure is.
The larger question is what is our federal government doing about it. This has been a point of contention even before Biden stepped into office.
According to Breitbart:
Several of the world’s most trafficked websites were inaccessible or running unreliably Tuesday morning, with many impacted sites showing 503 errors.
The outage of the websites, which included the UK Government’s own website, a host of newspapers and newsgroups, and online culture sites began a little before 1100 BST (0600 EST) and saw many sites return a 503 Service Unavailable message. Mozilla Web Developer documentation defines a 503 error as indicating “the server is not ready to handle the request. Common causes are a server that is down for maintenance or that is overloaded.”
What has caused the mass outage is not presently known, but Australia’s 9News reports a data network called Fastly may be partly involved. Matt Taylor of the Financial Times, one of the newspapers impacted by the outage, also cites Fastly as having a “massive outage”.
Fastly provides a content delivery network (CDN), which uses server caches in different locations to allow large websites to operate globally at very high speeds. One of the theoretical benefits of a CDN is protection for websites from Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks, which attempt to overload servers with a flood of requests or traffic.
Fastly is one of only a handful of companies to offer this service, which may go some way to explain why so many websites are impacted. Fastly said on their own status page at 1058 BST that “We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services”, and have posted further updates that the investigation into a “Global CDN Disruption” is continuing regularly since.
Among those large websites impacted are the British government, CNN, the Guardiannewspaper, the Financial Times newspaper, the New York Times, and Reddit. Other websites including Amazon and Spotify appear to be accessible but with limited functionality.
We are aware of the issues with https://t.co/uLPSBt4jdQ which means that users may not be able to access the site. This is a wider issue affecting a number of other non-government sites. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.
— GOV.UK (@GOVUK) June 8, 2021
We identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across our POPs globally and have disabled that configuration. Our global network is coming back online. Continued status is available at https://t.co/RIQWX0LWwl
— Fastly (@fastly) June 8, 2021
Internet down: Widespread outage as many of world's biggest websites crash, including Amazon, UK government and Reddit pic.twitter.com/YOdUn6iqoF
— The Independent (@Independent) June 8, 2021
Major internet outage developing after Fastly went down earlier pic.twitter.com/e8btYQEFlC
— Catalin Cimpanu (@campuscodi) June 8, 2021
BREAKING: Widespread outage at cloud service company Fastly brings down swaths of the internet. More to follow on https://t.co/Q9cy565jN1
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 8, 2021
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