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The day the internet broke: Cloudflare points the finger at Verizon for this week’s internet woes

Wondering why the internet was a little less functional today? Both Amazon Web Services and Cloudflare experienced big problems today, leading to interference and outages for some of the biggest sites on the internet.

Cloudfare and AWS were both affected, although this statement from Cloudflare suggests that network providers Verizon are responsible. 

Tom Strickx, a network software engineer for Cloudflare, said:

Yesterday at 10:30UTC, the Internet had a small heart attack. A small company in Northern Pennsylvania became a preferred path of many Internet routes through Verizon (AS701), a major Internet transit provider. This was the equivalent of Waze routing an entire freeway down a neighborhood street — resulting in many websites on Cloudflare, and many other providers, to be unavailable from large parts of the Internet. This should never have happened because Verizon should never have forwarded those routes to the rest of the Internet.‘

So what has been affected? Chunks of Gmail were playing up, in addition to gaming community app Discord had intermittent service, and anime streaming platform Crunchyroll was down for a spell. Add to that reports of a complete lack of access for smart-home and security provider Nest, and even Alexa devices getting surly and refusing to respond across a large chunk of North America.

The outage was pretty severe, and affected users across a range of different websites.

Things are mostly cleared up now, with the time between 12pm BST and 2pm being the worst for regular people trying to use the internet. You might experience some wobbliness (it’s a word, honest) when trying to use some of your favourite services today, as some kinks are worked out.

The best response to the whole thing was from Discord, who suggested that the millions of users experiencing issues hang tight and pet their cats, which is pretty good advice for today’s internet outage, but also for life in general. Unfortunately, the sheer number of sites that use Google’s cloud computing services, AWS or Cloudflare mean that when there’s an outage that hits one of the big providers, the whole internet crumples like a sheet of wet toilet tissue.

We escaped major problems this time, with a relatively short two hour outage that seems to have been localised to North America, meaning many of the largest sites were unaffected. Still, millions of people were inconvenienced.  

Team Trusted are looking at the possibility of getting a cat, at least.


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