No cyberattack in sprawling internet outage, Akamai says

Problems with Akamai Edge DNS were behind the outage.
(Getty Images)

A global internet outage on Thursday downed tens of thousands of websites, including those of giant corporations like McDonald’s and Delta Airlines, according to companies that track web statistics.

But the company at the center of it says the downtime was not the result of a hack, data breach or other kind of malicious attack.

Internet infrastructure company Akamai said it has fixed the issue that it began investigating shortly after noon EST. The specific problem was with Akamai Edge DNS, a service that touts its ability to provide constant Domain Name System availability.

“Akamai can confirm this was not a cyberattack against Akamai’s platform,” the company said in a statement.


“A software configuration update triggered a bug in the DNS system, the system that directs browsers to websites,” the company said in a statement explaining what went wrong. “This caused a disruption impacting availability of some customer websites.”

Before the hour ended, Akamai said the problem had been resolved.

Other organizations and online services that endured reported outages included FedEx, Fidelity, Home Depot, HSBC, Playstation and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Services that track internet outages saw figures rise as high as nearly 33,000 around the time of Akamai’s problems, although they didn’t explicitly link the two.


Widespread internet outages often trigger panic and speculation about cyberattacks, but frequently, innocent technical issues at DNS providers are to blame, to the point that it’s the subject of a popular internet meme. The Domain Name System converts website name requests to internet protocol addresses.

Those outages also feature amateur sleuthing about which companies are responsible, and early suspicions this time focused on Oracle and Akamai. “We are monitoring a global issue related to a partner Edge DNS provider that is impacting access to many internet resources, including Oracle cloud properties,” Oracle said. “Resources within the Oracle cloud are continuing to run and are not impacted by this event.

Cloudflare, which also offers a DNS service and is no stranger to outages, extended its sympathies.

Tim Starks

Written by Tim Starks

Tim Starks is senior reporter at CyberScoop. His previous stops include working at The Washington Post, POLITICO and Congressional Quarterly. An Evansville, Ind. native, he's covered cybersecurity since 2003. Email Tim here:

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