Global internet outage was caused by ONE Fastly customer

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Global internet outage that crashed sites like Amazon, the UK government and Spotify was caused by a ONE Fastly customer adjusting their settings

  • Yesterday’s massive internet outage is attributed to a single Fastly customer
  • US cloud computing firm responsible for outage said a software bug was the cause
  • It said the software bug was triggered when a customer changed their settings
  • Hundreds of websites including Amazon, Spotify and Netflix crashed due to a malfunction

The massive internet outage that shut down hundreds of websites around the world is attributed to a single unnamed IT customer.

This has prevented millions of people from accessing many major sites, including Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, as well as the BBC, the British government and the White House.

Yesterday’s outage was caused by a software bug caused when a customer of Fastly – the US cloud computing company responsible for the problems – changed its settings, the company said.

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Source: The internet outage that shut down hundreds of websites around the world is attributed to a single customer of Fastly, the US company responsible for the problem (stock)

Source: The internet outage that shut down hundreds of websites around the world is attributed to a single customer of Fastly, the US company responsible for the problem (stock)

Which sites are affected?

The outage caused visitors to sites, including UK government pages, to receive the message: 'Error 503 Service Unavailable'

The outage caused visitors to sites, including UK government pages, to receive the message: ‘Error 503 Service Unavailable’

Many popular websites were affected by yesterday’s outage, including:

– Amazon

– Spotify

– Reddit

– Netflix

– gov.uk

– PayPal

– Twitch

– Stack Overflow

– GitHub

– Hulu

– HBO Max

– Quora

– Vimeo

– Shopify

– Stripe

– CNN

– The guard

– The New York Times

– BBC

– Financial times

It has raised questions about the reliance of many of the world’s largest websites on just a handful of companies that operate the infrastructure that underpins the Internet.

More than half of Internet traffic is served by a Content Delivery Network (CDN) company such as Fastly, which allows users to view website content faster.

The purpose of CDNs is to reduce latency – the delay from the time a user makes a request to the exact time they receive a response. The higher the latency, the worse the user experience.

But when the service goes down, like Fastly’s, it prevents the companies using it from operating on the net at all.

In a blog post on its website, Fastly apologized for the outage — which lasted about an hour — and said it should have anticipated it.

Nick Rockwell, senior vice president of engineering and infrastructure, said: “We experienced a global outage due to an undiscovered software flaw that was revealed on June 8 when it was caused by a valid customer configuration change.

“We discovered the outage within a minute, identified the cause, isolated it and disabled the configuration.”

He said 95 percent of Fastly’s network was functioning normally within 49 minutes.

The company has vowed to conduct a “post mortem of the processes and practices we followed during this incident” and to “find out why we failed to discover the bug during our software quality assurance and testing processes.”

“This outage has been broad and serious, and we are truly sorry for the impact on our customers and anyone who relies on them,” added Mr Rockwell.

MailOnline has approached Fastly for more information about the ‘customer’ behind the outage.

Due to the blackout, visitors to a large number of sites received error messages such as ‘Error 503 Service Unavailable’ and ‘connection failure’.

Streaming sites Netflix, Twitch and Hulu were also affected by the problem.

Some sites, including the UK government website, were completely offline, while others, such as Twitter, had more specific errors such as not displaying emojis.

Among those affected were traveling Britons who attempted to fill in localization forms on gov.uk to enter the UK from Portugal and abroad.

Former deputy national security adviser for intelligence and security between 2014 and 2018, Paddy McGuinness, said yesterday’s incident should serve as ‘a wake-up call’, and that the UK government should expand its current security approach.

“We need resilience as an explicit policy goal, especially on the new networks we are building to deliver services to citizens,” he said.

‘A ‘secure by design and default’ mantra is welcome, but it is not sufficient in itself.’

Many of Fastly’s customers are news sites that use their technology to update their websites with the latest news.

Buzzfeed, for example, used Fastly to cut the time it took users to reach the site in half.

Fastly had $290.9 million in revenue last year.

Problems: Several major websites crashed yesterday after a massive internet outage.  The outage tracker site DownDetector picked up on the issues users were experiencing (pictured)

Problems: Several major websites crashed yesterday after a massive internet outage. The outage tracker site DownDetector picked up on the issues users were experiencing (pictured)

What is Fastly and why was there a problem with so many websites?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN) that speeds up the transfer of content between websites and consumers.

For CDNs, the goal is always to reduce latency – the delay from the time a user makes a request to the exact time they receive a response. The higher the latency, the worse the user experience.

For example, when you load a page on a server on the other side of the world, it takes hundreds of milliseconds to get the page.

Over time, this latency builds up, resulting in a slow consumer experience.

However, when sites use a CDN like Fastly, they can send the content of the page in less than 25 milliseconds.

Fastly is used by a range of popular websites, including several media sites such as the Guardian, New York Times, and Buzzfeed.

This means that when Fastly experiences a ‘failure’, it has consequences for data centers worldwide.

Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, explains: “Web pages are located all over the world, so content delivery networks are placed to distribute the data evenly by reducing the physical distance between where it is kept and the end user.

“This allows users around the world to view the same high-quality information and content without lag or slow loading times.”

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