The White House also fell. Is the world in danger of an internet ‘blackout’? – Technology – Science and technology

Problems with Fastly’s CDNs have made Bele’s House, CNN, PayPal, eBay, and other key sites temporarily unavailable. Fortunately, it lasted less than two hours.

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Due to the failure of the CDN networks operated by Fastly, the CNN website was inaccessible for several tens of minutes and even the White House “fell”.

Is the world in danger of a global Internet outage? Could it be that a large part of the global network will suddenly collapse and stop working? In a world where more and more data is concentrated online in cloud storage operated by large companies, it certainly is.

CNN didn’t work and the White House “fell”

This is evidenced by the events of recent hours, when for a few tens of minutes out of nowhere the pages of major news portals, multinational merchants ceased to be available, you could not pay via PayPal, shop on eBay and even “fell” the White House, although only online .

And what actually happened? The short-term outage of services has affected a company that few have apparently heard of so far. It is called Fastly and is one of the most important operators of the so-called CDN (content-delivery networks) networks. These, simply put, allow your data to load almost as fast for you as it is for users on the other side of the globe, no matter where the server is physically located.

The speed of loading your pages is still largely dependent on the physical distance of the servers on which the data from it is stored. Data from your “Indian” server travels through fiber optic cables through the routers that analyze it and various temporary storage. It may happen that your site loads quickly at home, but somewhere in Asia it will slowly lead the user to despair.

In CDN networks, static content is used ... Photo: Beluga CDN

CDN see In CDN networks, so-called edge servers that are geographically as close as possible to the users who want to view the page.

CDNs largely eliminate this problem, so they are used by most global companies, governments and platforms around the world. These networks allow visitors to load your static (non-changing) content, such as images, videos, scripts, or fonts, from as few remote servers as possible geographically, greatly speeding up your site. And Fastly is one of the largest operators of CDN networks, connected servers and data centers.

Who controls the internet?

In her case, it was a configuration error during a software update, which was removed relatively quickly, the outage lasted a short time, less than two hours, and the company informed the partners about it ten minutes after it identified it. However, he pointed out one important thing that security experts have been pointing out for a long time: the key infrastructure, or rather the operation of the Internet, is increasingly technically concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of technology companies. And such a concentration can be useful on the one hand, but dangerous on the other.

These include Fastly, but also Google and Amazon, for example. A targeted attack on them could indeed lead to a situation in the future that would not end in a relatively short outage of key internet players, or could have a domino effect in which the problem could spread uncontrollably and very quickly virtually across the internet, flooding additional servers and backbone networks, which would make other sites and services unavailable.

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At present, companies can switch relatively freely and quickly between CDNs and do not have to use them at all at the cost of slowing down their loading, important cloud services and servers are backed up many times and secured against failure and attacks, but increasing centralization and complexity of services offered by such sites. companies also mean that there is a growing risk of their massive failure.

Attacks and similar outages will continue to occur, cannot be completely prevented, but it will be important for the affected companies to have effective procedures in place to recover from such situations as soon as possible and to resume operations. Just like Fastly did quite successfully yesterday.


Source: Pravda.sk – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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