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PSN, Steam, Banks, More Knocked Offline by Internet Outage

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Photo: ROBYN BECK / AFP (Getty Images)

A massive hack seems to have disabled services connected to many businesses, banks, government offices and more, and has knocked a number of popular websites and services offline.

On Thursday, DownDetector began showing reports of mass availability issues for the likes of American Express, Capital One, Fidelity, Airbnb, Sony’s Playstation Network and many others.

Going to a number of these sites showed that many of them have trouble solving. An attempt to access the Steam game streaming service, for example, produces a “Service Unavailable – DNS Error” message.

Meanwhile, Sony recently released a statement on ongoing PNS issues: “PlayStation Network services are up and running, but there are external, Internet-wide issues that could affect your experience,” it says.

Although it is unclear what the ultimate source of these problems is, it seems that two major ISPs – Akamai and Amazon – are having problems.

DownDetector indicates that Amazon Web Services users have reported an ongoing disruption. Meanwhile, the major DNS provider Akamai reported on Thursday that it is Edge DNS had problems. Edge is a cloud-based high-performance domain name system service that many companies trust. 12:09 EST said the company:

We are aware of an emerging issue with the Edge DNS service.

We are actively investigating the case. If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, please contact Akamai Technical Support.

A number of security experts pointed his finger at Edge as the culprit behind. However, just before publication around 13:15 ET, Akamai updated the status from having issues to “operational” so that the whole matter could be cleared up soon.

We will keep track of the power outage and update this room when things (hopefully) start to return to normal.

This is an evolving story.

UPDATE, July 22, 2:40 PM EST:

From 13.09 EST, Akamai said it had solved the problem. “This event has been reduced,” the company’s website claims.

The company has further elaborated that the incident was “Not the result of a cyber attack on the Akamai platform.” Instead, the company says that “a software update triggered a bug in the DNS system, the system that directs browsers to websites. This caused a disruption that affected the availability of some customer sites. ”

“The disturbance lasted for up to an hour. After the software update was reversed, the services resumed normal operation. Akamai can confirm that this was not a cyber attack on Akamai’s platform, “the company added. “We are sorry for the inconvenience. We are reviewing the software update process to prevent future disruptions. ”

Often compared to a “phonebook”, the Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical element of web infrastructure that determines how IP addresses are resolved to specific websites. Suffice it to say, without functional DNS, you can not connect to the sites you want access.

DNS service providers, such as Akamai, are responsible for keeping things in order for many large companies, which millions of Internet users trust. Edge is used by a whole lot of large companies – which explains the extent of today’s major removal.

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