Multiple popular websites, including publications The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The New York Times and the BBC, as well as platforms like Twitch, Amazon and Reddit, were hit by an internet outage on Thursday night.
All of the sites affected, which also included shopping domains like Target in the US and the UK’s government site, were connected to Fastly, a US based content delivery network, or CDN.
CDNs hold copies of webpages in servers around the world. This means that consumers can quickly access webpages that are originally based in another location. This makes it quicker for someone based in New Delhi, for example, to access a site based in Toronto.
The outage lasted for approximately an hour. Users trying to access popular websites received ‘Error 503’ messages, or notifications saying that the website’s domain was unknown.
The highlight of the outage occured when tech site, The Verge – which was also down – attempted to cover the drama via a Google Doc.
The site invited people to check out the Google Doc via Twitter, which meant hundreds of users were able to watch the publication’s editorial staff frantically update the document.
Vast chunks of the internet are offline, including The Verge. Until we’re back, we’re reporting to you live out of Google Docs. Here’s what we know so far about the outage: https://t.co/4b1p2qhYif
— The Verge (@verge) June 8, 2021
At one point, the Google Doc was left with editing on, meaning just about anyone could go on and write whatever they pleased.
As would be expected, this resulted in some utter nonsense being shared online.
One person even claimed, “excited to announce my new job as editor at the verge” and “stop telling us to stream taylor swift”.
the best thing to happen during the internet outage is The Verge trying to use Google Docs, leaving editing on, and creating a piece of accidental net art pic.twitter.com/hxFzkNSRQa
— Dan Hett (@danhett) June 8, 2021
The editors did confirm that one person had accidentally shared the editable link, causing the error.
— James Vincent (@jjvincent) June 8, 2021
This outage appears to have been caused by an internal error, not from hacking.
Earlier this year, Network Nine was hit by a ransomware attack which led to broadcasts being disrupted.
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