The websites of several large companies in Australia and beyond temporarily stopped working for many users on Thursday. Analysts said it was a bug caused by service interruptions on a US-based hosting platform.
The outage was the second failure in the past week that appeared to demonstrate widespread reliance on a handful of companies to maintain the pipelines that underpin the global Internet.
Several Australian banks, the airline Virgin Australia and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange were affected by the disruptions on Thursday. There were also reports of service failures on the websites of companies in Germany, India and elsewhere.
Just as those sites were failing, Downdetector.com, which tracks Internet disruptions, said user reports showed an increase in “potential problems” at Akamai, a Massachusetts-based service provider. Downdetector.com said reports started rising around 12:10 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and began to wear off about an hour later.
Cybersecurity experts in Australia wrote on social media that Akamai’s disruptions were the cause of the website’s outages. The company said in a brief statement that it is aware of the problem and is working to restore services.
In Australia, the outage affected online and mobile banking services at three large banks – ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac – as well as smaller banks, including ME and Macquarie. Local residents complained on social media about being stuck at supermarket checkouts with no way to pay for groceries, or stranded at gas stations and unable to pay for fuel.
Westpac said in a statement that some of its services were affected by “an issue with a third party provider” while ANZ said it was affected by “an incident related to an outside provider”. The Commonwealth Bank said it was hit by a “technology failure”.
The country’s other major bank, National Australia Bank, said its services had not been affected.
The Australian Post said that an “external outage” had affected some of their services.
Virgin Australia said in a statement that it was “one of many organizations that has experienced an Akamai content delivery system failure today, and we are working with them to ensure that the necessary action is taken to resolve it.” to prevent these failures from occurring again “.
At around 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time in the United States or late Thursday afternoon in Australia, some Australian banks said their services were back online.
Last week several major websites, including those of the UK government, The New York Times, CNN, The Financial Times and The Guardian, were temporarily inaccessible. Many of the affected areas appeared to have recovered in a little less than an hour.
This outage was related to Fastly, a cloud computing service provider used by companies around the world to run their websites. Fastly, based in San Francisco, later said the problem had been identified and was being resolved.