Banks, brokerages, PSN, the Steam Store, and more went down in massive internet outage

Filed in Blog by on July 23, 2021 0 Comments

As part of a huge internet outage on Thursday, many websites, including banking pages, brokerages, and gambling services, were down for just over an hour. Consumers were unable to access services such as Ally Bank, Fidelity, Sony’s PlayStation Network, Airbnb, and others during the outage. Several airline websites were also impacted: Delta, British Airways, and Southwest’s websites were either down or had critical functionality such as flight check-ins broken.

After Akamai, a content delivery network that hosts much of the internet began sending out a fix to its service, many sites appear to be functional again. In an email to The Verge, Akamai writes, “We are continuing to monitor the issue and can affirm this was not the result of a cyberattack on the Akamai platform.”

The involvement of Akamai became evident soon, with several websites blaming the CDN provider for the disruptions. The New York Metro Transportation Authority and The Times of India, for example, tweeted that Akamai was to blame for their service disruptions. Cloudflare’s CEO has spoken in, claiming that his company’s service isn’t to blame.

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The internet problems wreaked havoc on gaming services as well. The PlayStation Network was experiencing a surge of over 40,000 users, according to DownDetector, while the Steam shop was also experiencing troubles. Games like Fortnite and Call of Duty have also been affected, according to DownDetector. “PlayStation Network services are up and operating, however, there are external, internet-wide issues that might disrupt your experience,” Sony noted on its PSN status page soon before we published this post.

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In terms of more critical services, a number of bank websites seemed to be down during the outage, and 911 systems were reported to be down in many states. It’s unclear whether the emergency services outage was related to the other web outages; the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department said that its 911 outage was caused by a fiber cut, which has since been fixed.

Outages like this demonstrate that, while the internet is decentralized in theory, the functionality of many big websites is reliant on a small number of corporations. A single customer hit a fault in Fastly’s CDN service in June, bringing down Reddit, Twitch, and The Verge with it. In the past, issues with Amazon’s Web Services have resulted in catastrophic disruptions.

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