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Some of the most popular and important websites in the world right now were completely unreachable on Thursday morning due to an outage at Akamai. Website visitors were left in the dark as to why the sites were down, just like the sites they were trying to access. Users reported that news websites, banks, travel sites, and major gaming sites were down. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) deliver websites fast to users by utilizing data servers located near the visitor’s location. The CDN also provides a layer of security and defence against hackers and other malicious actors. However, CDNs increasingly experience temporary failures that bring thousands of sites offline. The DownDetector site availability website indicates that Akamai CDN Service has been experiencing several outages. However, Akamai has not acknowledged some of the outages noted by that site, although it did post an update about the one from today. The most recent outage occurred on June 17, 2021, and the year before on July 17, 2020.
Reasons for the akamai outage:
Akamai Edge and GTM services went down, bringing down some of the world’s most popular websites in the banking, gaming, and news industries. This outage was caused by a software update that caused a bug in the DNS system, which oversees converting domain names into IP addresses. The DNS system converts a browser request into an IP address, which is the actual address of the website. When the DNS went down, the system was unable to map requests for a domain and web page to the IP address where the content was located.
Specifics of the outage:
The outage began at approximately 9 to 10 AM eastern time Akamai reported an issue sometime after noon eastern time via Twitter: “Akamai is experiencing a service disruption. We are actively investigating the issue and will provide an update in 30 minutes.” Then 15 minutes later tweeted that they had found a fix for the problem: “We have implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations. We will continue to monitor to ensure that the impact has been fully mitigated.” In a subsequent tweet, Akamai confirmed that the outage was not caused by malicious activity against it. “We are continuing to monitor the situation and can confirm this was not a result of a cyberattack on the Akamai platform.” According to a status report on the Akamai website itself, the problem has been mitigated. There is no word on what caused the problem, whether it was an update, hardware failure, or a human error. Ironically, it is a web service that is supposed to keep a website online that takes down so many websites, a far greater number than any hacking event.