Several major websites, including those of the UK government, The New York Times, CNN, The Financial Times and The Guardian, were briefly inaccessible to many users on Tuesday morning.
According to Downdetector.com, which tracks internet disruptions, sites like Etsy, Hulu, PayPal, Reddit, Twitch, and Twitter have also reported issues.
Many affected sites appeared to have been restored after just under an hour.
The failure was related to Quickly, a cloud computing service provider used by many businesses to improve the speed and reliability of their websites. Fastly later said on its website that the problem had been identified and a fix was in the works.
Works quickly on a technology known as a content delivery network, which is a network of highly distributed servers used to reduce the distance between a server and a user and increase the loading speed of a website.
The technology is believed to improve reliability as it distributes the delivery of a website to many locations, rather than relying on a central data center. Fastly did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Widespread internet outages are less common today than they were years ago as Google and other big tech companies develop interconnected data centers that improve performance, but there have been a number of incidents in the world. over the past year.
In December, Google services including Gmail, Maps, and YouTube crashed for about an hour. The company attributed the problem to an “authentication system failure.” And in January, Slack, the popular workplace messaging platform used by millions of people around the world, experienced a major disruption where users couldn’t send messages, load channels, make calls or log into the service.
Blackouts like Tuesday’s, in which many of the affected sites belonged to news organizations, often hit companies in the same industry because they rely on the same third-party services, said Marie Vasek, senior security lecturer at the company. information at University College London. .
“All of these websites really relied on this third-party service, and the slight disruption to it caused this disproportionate effect,” said Dr. Vasek.
Madeline Carr, director of the Research Institute for Sociotechnical Cyber Security, which focuses on organizational security, said companies that provide website infrastructure can be slow to provide details when they experience internal failures. or are victims of cyber attacks. In part, that’s because their main selling point to customers is reliability, she said.
“There has to be a level of accountability,” said Dr Carr, also professor of cybersecurity at University College London. “In the last generation of cybersecurity, it was about making sure that websites were protected or had adequate security, but when you’re talking about something like Fastly, in a sense, it doesn’t matter how secure your own site is. Web, ”she said, since so many websites depend on it.