Business

Internet interruptions briefly disrupt access to websites, programs

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange said in a report on Twitter in Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon that its website was experiencing technical difficulties and that it was investigating. It said 17 minutes later in another post that the sites were back to normal. Internet monitoring sites, including ThousandEyes, Downdetector.com and fing.com, have shown dozens of disruptions, including to US airlines. Many of the interruptions have been reported by people in Australia trying to do banking, book flights and gain access to postal services. Australia Post, the country’s postal service, said on Twitter that an “external outage” had affected a number of its services, and that although most services had come online again, they were continuing to monitor and investigate. Many services are up and running after an hour or so, but the companies involved said they work overtime to prevent further problems. Banking services have been severely disrupted, with Westpac, the Commonwealth, ANZ and St George, along with the Reserve Bank of Australia website. Services were mostly restored.

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Virgin Australia said flights were largely operating on schedule after restoring access to its website and gas contact center. “Virgin Australia was one of many organizations that experienced an interruption with the Akamai delivery system today,” he said. “We are working with them to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to prevent these interruptions from occurring again.” Akamai counts some of the world’s largest companies and banks as customers. Calls to Akamai, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but providing worldwide services, went unanswered. The outages occurred a few days after many of the world’s leading websites went offline due to a software problem at Fastly, another large web services company. The company blamed the problem for a software error caused when a customer changed a setting. Short internet interruptions are not uncommon and are only rarely the result of burglary or other misfortune. But the disruptions have highlighted how important a small number of behind-the-scenes companies have become to run the internet.