Websites of dozens of financial institutions and airlines in Australia and the US were briefly down yesterday, in the second major blackout in just over a week caused by a glitch in an important piece of Internet infrastructure.
Server-related glitches at content delivery network (CDN) provider Akamai had disrupted services at Australian banks, while many US airlines, including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, also reported an hour-long disruption.
A similar outage at rival Fastly affected a number of popular websites last week.
The impacted platform is now up and running, an Akamai spokesperson said, adding that the company was “continuing to validate services”.
Akamai is one of the largest providers of CDN services, which are used by companies to speed up the delivery of data-heavy content, videos and games to web pages.
Several US websites, which were hit by the outage, were back up yesterday.
“Our website and other Internet-based tools are back up and running after a brief outage late Wednesday evening,” Southwest spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are continuing to look into the root cause of the outage but it’s believed to be related to the broad Akamai outage.”
American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines were not immediately available for comment.
In Australia, websites of the central bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, had begun to come back online by late afternoon.
Virgin Australia said it was “one of many organisations to experience an outage with the Akamai content delivery system,” though the situation was now resolved.
Banks in New Zealand and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange also reported problems with their web platforms.
It is the latest incident to draw attention to the stability of economically vital online platforms and the key role that a handful of mostly unknown companies play in keeping the web running.
A series of high-profile hack-for-ransom attacks have also left corporations around the world jittery over cybersecurity risks, although there was no indication the latest problems were caused by malicious actors.
Colonial Pipeline was briefly shuttered after an attack in May, and JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, was forced to stop operations in the US and Australia.
Both firms reportedly paid ransoms to get operations back up and running.
The issue of cybersecurity was at the top of the agenda when US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Geneva on Wednesday.
Washington believes hackers who have extorted hundreds of millions of dollars from Western governments, companies, and organisations operate from Russian soil.
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