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Major outage hits major websites as 911 services go down in multiple East Coast cities

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Major sites affected in Thursday’s outage

  • UPS
  • Delta Air Lines
  • American Express
  • Home Depot
  • Costco
  • Airbnb
  • HBO Max
  • US Bank
  • Fox News 
  • FedEx 

A major internet outage has affected the websites of major retail, financial, logistics and travel websites, while 911 service in several Virginia cities appears to be affected by a cut fiber optic cable. 

Down Detector, a service that detects whether websites are working properly or not, began reporting a series of at least 50 major website outages shortly before 12pm EST on Thursday.

The websites of UPS, Delta Air Lines, Costco, American Express and Home Depot were down, displaying domain name system (DNS) service errors. 

Akamai Technologies, a backbone internet service provider, said in a statement that it had detected an issue with its ‘edge DNS service’ that appeared to be the source of the outage, which was resolved within an hour. 

‘We are continuing to monitor the situation and can confirm this was not a result of a cyberattack on the Akamai platform,’ the company said. 

Among the potentially affected websites were Airbnb, US Bank, FedEx, UPS, Fox News, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, AT&T, Groupon, Expedia, HBO Max and TikTok, according to Down Detector.

The filings page of the US Securities and Exchange Commission also displayed a message saying that it was ‘temporarily unavailable’.

Costco's website was among those affected in what appeared to be a widespread internet outage on Thursday

Costco’s website was among those affected in what appeared to be a widespread internet outage on Thursday

Backbone service provider Akamai Technologies appeared to be the source of the outage. The company said that it had fixed the service disruption by 12.47pm

Backbone service provider Akamai Technologies appeared to be the source of the outage. The company said that it had fixed the service disruption by 12.47pm

A number of global financial institutions also appeared to be impacted, including Interactive Brokers, Santander Bank, BBVA and BB&T.

Down Detector tweeted that Amazon Web Services and Oracle Cloud are also having problems, but the Amazon Web Services website appeared to be working normally.

Oracle Corp said it was monitoring the global issue related to a cloud-based DNS solution provider impacting access to many internet resources, including its own cloud services. 

What is DNS service?

Domain name system (DNS) is a service that translates readable domain names to machine readable IP addresses.

DNS servers allow internet users to connect to a website by typing the name of the site in and translating it to the right IP address. 

A DNS outage means that an internet user’s browser is unable to find the right server to deliver a website’s content. 

About 3,500 users reported issues with Airbnb’s website, while nearly 1,500 Home Depot users reported problems, according to Down Detector. 

Other websites that were impacted included Microsoft, Evernote, Go Daddy, Vanguard and a number of other tech or financial-centric domains, according to Down Detctor.

Akamai Technologies, a global content delivery network that provides backbone internet services, said in a statement that it is ‘aware of an emerging issue with the Edge DNS service.’ 

DNS is a service that translates readable domain names to machine readable IP addresses, connecting it to a server and delivering the requested page on the user’s phone or laptop. 

In an update at 12.47pm, the company said: ‘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,’ Akamai added in the statement.

In June, multiple outages hit social media, government and news websites across the globe, with some reports pointing to a glitch at Akamai’s competitor Fastly.  

Fastly said at the time the issues experienced on June 8 were down to an ‘undiscovered software bug’ in its system which was triggered by a single unnamed customer who updated their settings. 

The filings website of the SEC was seen to be 'temporarily unavailable' on Thursday

The filings website of the SEC was seen to be ‘temporarily unavailable’ on Thursday

Down Detector also indicated issued with Airbnb's site amid the widespread outage

Down Detector also indicated issued with Airbnb’s site amid the widespread outage

Meanwhile, at least nine counties and three cities in Virginia reported 911 outages or call issues on Thursday.

‘There appears to be a multi-state 911 outage. The issue is being addressed,’ the Rockbridge County Fire-Rescue & Emergency Management said in a statement. 

In Campbell County, Virginia, the Department of Public Safety said all service to the county’s E-911 and non-emergency phone lines has been disrupted.

It was unclear whether the emergency services outage was related to the internet issues, with WSET-TV reporting that a cut fiber optic cable in Greyson County was potentially to blame. 

The Greyson County Sheriff’s Office said that CenturyLink was working to restore the cut fiber in the Marion area. 

Developing story, more to follow. 

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