Widespread Internet Outage Causes Online Services to Crash

G. Dautovic Image
ByG. Dautovic
July 28, 2021

A temporary internet outage caused major online banking and gaming services to collapse on Thursday afternoon, July 22. 

Among online banking services hit by the disruption were some prominent websites such as Barclays, TSB, the Bank of Scotland, Tesco Bank, and Sainsbury’s Bank. They were unable to offer their services to customers for a short period of time. 

Airbnb, Delta Airlines, and popular gaming platforms the PlayStation Network and Steam were also affected by the hour-long outage. Users weren’t able to load pages, and some reported receiving the “DNS error” message.

The incident was attributed to Akamai, a global content delivery network (CDN), cybersecurity, and cloud service firm headquartered in Massachusetts, US. The company started actively investigating the issue and marked the problem as resolved an hour later. 

At 15:46 UTC today, a software configuration update triggered a bug in the DNS system, the system that directs browsers to websites. This caused a disruption impacting the availability of some customer websites. The disruption lasted up to an hour. Upon rolling back the software configuration update, the services resumed normal operations. Akamai can confirm this was not a cyberattack against Akamai’s platform. We apologize for the inconvenience that resulted. We are reviewing our software update process to prevent future disruptions,Akamai tweeted on the same day.

The outage followed a similar one that happened on June 8, when a rival CDN provider, Fastly, experienced a glitch that led to yet another disruption of content distribution worldwide. The outage caused major service providers such as Amazon, Reddit, Twitch, Pinterest, and Twitter, to go down. Prominent websites, including The Guardian, BBC, the New York Times, and even the UK government’s gov.uk domain crashed, causing the major futures markets in the US to plunge sharply. 

A glitch in Amazon Web Services (AWS) earlier this month caused a similar problem worldwide. These incidents offer a cautionary lesson to companies that depend upon cloud services for content delivery. 

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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