This news story is crying out to have a Steve Urkel “Did I do that?” meme attached to it. Much of the Internet was temporarily shut down on Tuesday. Fastly announced after everything was up and going again that one of its customers changing settings was the source for the mass Internet outage.
Fastly Customer Causes Outage
It wasn’t just many websites – major websites used throughout the world, such as Amazon, were knocked out. It causes us to ask if a Fastly customer could cause a mass Internet outage, what could hackers do? After this news hit, are they all collectively pouring over code, trying to figure out how they could bring about the same effect?
Fastly introduced code last month that had an undetected bug. This laid dormant until it was kicked off on Tuesday by a customer updating settings, according to Nick Rockwell, the company’s head of engineering and infrastructure.
“On May 12 we began a software deployment that introduced a bug that could be triggered by a specific customer configuration under specific circumstances,” said Rockwell. “Early June 8, a customer pushed a valid configuration change that included the specific circumstances that triggered the bug which caused 85 percent of our network to return errors.”
“We detected the disruption within one minute, then identified and isolated the cause and disabled the configuration,” he continued. “Within 49 minutes, 95 percent of our network was operating as normal.”
“Even though there were specific conditions that triggered this outage, we should have anticipated it. We provide mission-critical services, and we treat any action that can cause service issues with the utmost sensitivity and priority. We apologize to our customers and those who rely on them for the outage and sincerely thank the community for its support,” concluded Rockwell.
Fastly and other popular content delivery networks (CDNs) work off the idea that the Internet is more secure and even faster if their users can use servers that are close in proximity and optimized to take on the type of load they carry.
This philosophy usually works out well, with less time spent loading and expert CDN operators handling the grunt work of security threats, traffic, bills, etc. But again, with the system showing a crack, is it really smart to trust many of the more important websites to the CDNs?
The SEO agency Reboot estimated that while the Fastly CDN was only down a short time, it could have cost Amazon $32 million in sales. If you conduct your business this way, you may be very alarmed right now.
Back on Track
Everything is reportedly back on track, but is it really? Sure, the Fastly bug has been fixed, and all websites involved in the major Internet outage have been restored, but what will the future damage be?
If this happened once, it could certainly happen again. And now all hackers have been alerted to this vulnerability in Fastly. They’re certain to be trying to find a way to cause another outage and benefit from it somehow, such as with ransomware.
Read on to learn about the outage Google experienced to its services last September.