Internet outage shuts down travel, banking sites and many others, plus online services including PlayStation Network

by 24USATVJuly 22, 2021, 9 p.m. 17
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Among the companies reportedly facing at least some online disruption were UPS, FedEx, airlines Delta and Southwest, financial sites Charles Schwab, US Bank and Fidelity, HBO Max, Costco, EA, and tech companies Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Game services including the PlayStation Network and Steam PC gaming store site were also affected.

A note on the Downdetector.com site said, "Reports indicate there may be a widespread outage at Akamai, which may be impacting your service."

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Akamai is one of only a few major content delivery networks including Amazon, Cloudflare and Fastly. A major disruption at Fastly in June affected a slew of sites including Amazon, Google, Reddit, Twitch, USA TODAY, CNN, The New York Times, the Financial Times and the U.K. government website.

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Content delivery networks, or content distribution networks (CDNs), store popular content – think TV episodes or movies on Amazon, Netflix or Disney+ – at data centers around the globe so users can access them more efficiently. So net disruptions can disrupt consumers' ability to stream content.

On its Twitter page, Akamai posted about 12:45 p.m. ET that it had "implemented a fix for this issue, and based on current observations, the service is resuming normal operations."

That came after an earlier post that "Akamai is experiencing a service disruption. We are actively investigating and will provide an update in 30 minutes."

Akamai also posted that the outage was not the "result of a cyberattack on the Akamai platform."

Soon after Akamai issued its update, ThousandEyes posted its analysis of the situation. "Though brief, the scope of the outage impacted many sites and applications ranging from gaming sites to major banks, airlines and more that leverage the Akamai CDN service," the cloud intelligence firm said.

According to ThousandEyes, the disruption affected Akamai's Edgekey DNS (Domain Name System) service – think of it as a virtual switchboard operator that connects your request from a browser or other net device – preventing users from reaching desired sites, stored on Akamai's content delivery network.

"DNS is a critical first step in reaching a web property and while Akamai’s CDN service does not appear to have been impacted, it was unreachable for many users during the incident," it said.

Subsequently, Akamai confirmed ThousandEyes' diagnosis that about 12:46 p.m. ET "a software configuration update triggered a bug in the DNS system, the system that directs browsers to websites. This caused a disruption impacting availability of some customer websites. The disruption lasted up to an hour. Upon rolling back the software configuration update, the services resumed normal operations."

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