Source: CNN Business
Countless websites and apps around the world went down for about an hour Tuesday after Fastly, a major content delivery network, reported a widespread failure.
Fastly supports news sites and apps like CNN, the Guardian, the New York Times and many others. It also provides content delivery for Twitch, Pinterest, HBO Max, Hulu, Reddit, Spotify (SPOT) and other services. The outage took down other major internet platforms and sites, including Amazon, Target, and the UK government website — Gov.uk.
The problem was caused by an outage at Fastly (FSLY), a cloud service provider. The company said on its service status website (which was working) Tuesday morning it had identified the problem and fixed the issue. Service for sites and apps started to be restored around 7 a.m. ET, although Fastly said some customers may experience longer load times as a residual effect of the problem.
The outage affected dozens of countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as South Africa. Fastly said it had identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across its servers. The company has disabled that configuration.
Essentially, Fastly took down its own network with a bad software update — a rare but not unheard of goof that has temporarily brought down parts of even larger online platforms, including Google (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN), in the past.
“The problem with the internet is it’s always there until it isn’t,” said David Vaskevitch, CEO of photo app Mylio and former Microsoft chief technical officer. “For a system with so many interconnected parts, it’s not always reliable. Any one fragile part can bring it down.”
What is Fastly?
Fastly helps improve load times for websites and provides other services to internet sites, apps and platforms — including a large global server network designed to smooth out traffic overloads that can crash websites, such as a denial-of-service attack. The service accomplishes that by storing content and aspects of websites and apps on servers that are physically closer to the users trying to access a particular site or platform.
But because Fastly provides a layer of support between internet companies and customers trying to access the various online platforms it services, when it goes down, access to those platforms can be blocked entirely.
When Fastly went down, it went down hard: Three-quarters of the traffic coming from Fastly disappeared at around 5:49 am ET, according to Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik, a cloud company that provides large companies with internet transmission records. Traffic began returning at about 6:39 am ET.
Why did Fastly’s outage take the internet down, too?
Companies that operate on the internet can switch content delivery networks — and some appeared able to bypass Fastly’s outage Tuesday morning. But that’s not always an easy or quick proposition.
Major website and app outages happen from time to time and typically don’t last long — internet service providers, content delivery networks and other hosting services are built with multiple redundancies and a global network of backup servers designed to reduce disruptions when things go haywire.
In August 2020, CenturyLink, an internet service provider that is supposed to keep websites up and running, was down itself for the better part of a day. That meant Cloudflare, Hulu, the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Feedly, Discord, and dozens of other services reported connectivity problems. When Cloudflare — a content delivery network like Fastly — went down, it took dozens of website and online services along with it.
“There is no error-free internet, so the measure of success is how quickly a major internet firm like Fastly can recover from a rare outage like this,” Madory said. “In this case, it was under an hour.”
By Nozipho Mngomezulu, Karl Blom and Jody Hardy at Webber Wentzel
In a move to counter “fake news”, all Internet sites ending with “.za” will have to include a visible link on their landing page to the Covid-19 South African Online Portal, in terms of a Government Gazette notice published by the minister of communications and digital technologies on 26 March 2020.
This applies to all websites operating under the .zaDNA top-level domain name, so it includes those ending with “co.za”, “org.za” and “ac.za”.
The requirement is contained in the Electronic Communications, Postal and Broadcasting Directions, under Regulation 10(8) of the regulations made under section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002.
The purpose of this directive is to disseminate and facilitate the availability of accurate information about Covid-19.
The Covid-19 South African Online Portal contains statistics on the spread of the virus, information on symptoms and preventative tips, and official press releases and notices.
Although the directions came into force on the date of publication, they do not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance, or a deadline by when websites must be updated.
The portal to be displayed is found here.
Source: Randburg Sun
The Eskom website is currently down as Stage 4 loadshedding continues “until further notice”
The utility released a statement on Twitter this morning indicating that their systems were currently not working, including their website – where customers can check their load-shedding schedule.
Yesterday the power utility announced that loadshedding had been upgraded to Stage 4 after the Koeberg Power Station tripped.
Stage 4 was implemented due to a shortage of capacity and unplanned breakdowns. “We expect that load-shedding at various stages may continue into the weekend.”
Consumers were additionally frustrated by the court’s ruling against the energy regulator, stating that Eskom could have an 18,9% tariff hike. The hike will allow Eskom to generate R219.5-billion in revenue, R29,2-billion more than Nersa’s hike would allow.
Eskom has 60 days to apply to the regulator to increase the tariffs it can charge customers and the regulator must pay Eskom’s costs, the ruling said.
By Petrus Malherbe for Netwerk24
Instead of information about the eight commercial harbours it runs, the National Ports Authority’s (NPA) website now ostensibly contains information about gambling games in Indonesia, Netwerk24 reported. The National Ports Authority is a division of Transnet.
According to information on ICANN Lookup, Transnet registered transnetnationalportsauthority.net in 2007. The registration was managed by American company Network Solutions.
But its security certificate expired in April last year, which made it vulnerable to attacks by hackers thereafter.
The domain name, while still registered, is no longer being reported as being active. Its status is known as “client transfer prohibited”, meaning that the domain cannot be transferred without Transnet’s permission.
Ironically, the status is meant to help prevent an inactive domain name from being hacked by another entity.
Web pages are regularly hacked, with visitors directed to malevolent websites. A website with a security certificate that is in tact is, however, more resistant to these attacks.
The hacking of the NPA site seems limited to that particular website. The website for Transnet Port Terminals and its main page, transnet.net is, for example, still operational.
Even though the NPA’s page expired in April last year, Transnet still uses it on the port authority’s official Twitter page. This page appears to still be active – the last entry was on 23 January.
Transnet was approached for comment about the apparent takeover of one of its websites, but has not yet responded.
The Department of Home Affairs website has been unavailable for nearly two weeks without any indication of when it will be back online.
The website initially displayed a message saying “The main website is currently offline. Emergency Maintenance as 10 April 2019”.
The website linked to a few Home Affairs services which were still online, including its online application process.
The holding page has since disappeared and the website is now completely offline, giving the error message “The requested URL could not be retrieved”.
The Department of Home Affairs continued to post pictures and videos of Minister Siyabonga Cwele on Twitter, but did not mention its website downtime.
The images below show what visitors to the Department of Home Affairs website were greeted with over the last two weeks.