Thousands of websites and digital services around the world were unavailable on Thursday after cloud computing company Akamai experienced what it called a “service incident”.
Akamai, a Massachusetts-based company whose services work behind the scenes to keep large parts of the Internet running, said on its website that it is “aware of an issue with the Edge DNS service.”
DNS stands for Domain Names System, which, in general, is the way Internet Protocol or IP addresses read by computers are translated into words that can be read by humans.
DNS services are protected from attacks
Typically, a DNS service is one that keeps websites afloat when they are under siege by malicious third parties trying to defeat them by sending a huge flood of traffic to them all at once .
Akamai DNS services protect against these attacks, known as DDOS attacks or Denied Service Distribution.
“They are like a shield that is inserted between you and the website,” Matt Hatfield, director of campaigns, told Digital Media, a digital rights watchdog. “But when that service has problems, it means all sites that use them as protection problems.”
The affected websites were not loading and displaying various DNS-related utility errors.
“We are aware of a highlight issue with the Edge DNS service,” Akamaisaid said on its website. “We are actively investigating the matter.”
Akamai said the disruption was not caused by a cyber attack.
Some sites still do not work despite the adjustment
Shortly after 13:00 ET, the company said on Twitter that it had fixed the problem.
“We have implemented an adjustment to this issue and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operation. We will continue to monitor to ensure that the impact is fully mitigated.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and can confirm that this was not the result of a cyber attack on the Akamai platform.
But reports suggest that tens of thousands of enterprise and enterprise sites continue to be shut down, including airlines, banks, technology companies and retailers.
Pingdom, the service that monitors global internet traffic, reported that more than 34,000 pages crashed for various reasons at one point. As of 1 p.m. ET, more than 18,000 were still offline, including nearly 200 in Canada.
Less than a month ago, a DNS-like issue at Internet service company Fastly also wiped out thousands of Internet sites and cost $ 2 billion in economic losses.
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The Downdetector website, which monitors online outage reports, reported an increase in complaints Thursday to dozens of companies in Canada.
“Reports indicate that there may be a widespread outage in Akamai, which may be affecting your service,” the site read.
Hatfield says the outage shows how vulnerable the current internet is because it has moved from its decentralized origins to massively consolidate behind the scenes.
“It’s a network, but it’s not a decentralized network, there are not thousands of points that connect, but many points that connect to these essential services and then come to the rest of us.”
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