Airlines and banks websites go down in another major internet failure

Adding to a major interruption in the airlines, banks, stock exchanges and trading platforms’ websites, on Thursday, 17th June was another brief website outage after a key piece of internet infrastructure failed, sparking a second major interruption in ten days.

Virgin Australia said in a statement on Thursday that it had resolved the issue caused by the IT outage due to failure at Akamai Technologies, a global content delivery network.

The airline was one of the organizations that experienced an outage with the Akamai content delivery system. The team at Virgin Australia said that they were working with Akamai Technologies to settle the issue and ensure that necessary measures are taken to prevent the outage from recurring.

The massive outages on Thursday affected many companies including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ). The Hong Kong Stock Exchange website also went offline briefly.

In a statement from Akamai Technologies on Thursday, they admitted that their system had  faced an outage. The company later said that the issue had been taken care of four hours after it had emerged and apologized to their customers and internet users for the inconvenience caused.

These outages on Thursday came just in a span of over a week after numerous websites and applications went down for an hour due to Fastly, another major content delivery network, experiencing a widespread failure.

The purpose of content delivery systems is to improve load times for websites among providing other services to internet sites, apps and platforms. The services that accomplish by storing content and aspects of websites and applications on servers that are physically closer to users.

While explaining the cause of the outage, Akamai technologies said that the main issue was a bug in one of its services that helps mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, wherein bad actors send tons of requests to access a website in an effort to overwhelm its systems and shut it down.

According to the company, it immediately identified the issue and warned its customers. It also took measures to bring back around 500 customers online within minutes, who were cut off from making use of the services. The company also declared that the fault was not because of a cyberattack or system update.

A spokesperson for Commonwealth Bank of Australia said the bank was seeing services return following the technological outrage that had massive impacts across businesses.

According to Downdetector, which monitors website outages, it reported that the websites of Vanguard, Automatic Data Processing, Frontier Airlines and E-trade had also gone offline for a few moments.

Generally, website outages happen from time to time and do not last long. The internet services providers, content delivery networks and other hosting services are subject to multiple discrepancies and a global network of backup is designed to reduce the loss when technology doesn’t cooperate.

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