Internet outages briefly interrupt access to websites and apps

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FILE – Flags are hoisted in front of the Hong Kong Exchange Square building in central Hong Kong in this October 9, 2019 file photo. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced Thursday that it was faced with technical issues as a wave of brief internet outages appeared to hit dozens of financial institutions, airlines and other companies around the world. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung, File)

AP

A wave of brief internet outages hit the websites and apps of dozens of financial institutions, airlines, and other companies around the world on Thursday.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced in a post on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, Hong Kong time, that its website was facing technical problems and was being investigated. 17 minutes later, another post stated that his websites were back to normal.

Internet monitoring sites like ThousandEyes, Downdetector.com, and fing.com showed dozens of glitches, including among US airlines.

Many of the outages were reported by people in Australia trying to do banking, booking flights, and accessing postal services.

The Australian Post, the country’s postal service, said on Twitter that an “external outage” had impacted a number of its services and that most of the services had come back online but were still being monitored and investigated.

Many services were up in about an hour, but the affected companies said they were working overtime to avoid further problems.

Banking services have been severely affected, with Westpac, the Commonwealth, ANZ and St. George down, as well as the website of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank canceled a bond purchase due to technical difficulties with several banks involved.

Most of the services have been restored.

Virgin Australia said flights operated largely as planned after restoring access to its website and guest contact center.

“Virgin Australia was one of many organizations that experienced an Akamai content delivery system failure today,” it said. “We are working with them to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to prevent these failures from recurring.”

Akamai, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has some of the world’s largest corporations and banks among its clients. The company said in a statement Thursday that it is aware of the problem and is working to restore services as soon as possible.

The disruptions came just days after many of the world’s leading websites went temporarily offline due to a software problem at Fastly, another major web services company. The company blamed a software bug that was triggered when a customer changed a setting.

Brief outages of Internet services are not uncommon and are rarely the result of hacking or other nonsense. However, the outages have underscored the importance of a small number of businesses behind the scenes to the operation of the Internet.


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