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Major Amazon Cloud Outage     12/08 06:08

   A major outage in Amazon's cloud computing network Tuesday severely 
disrupted services at a wide range of U.S. companies for more than five hours, 
the latest sign of just how concentrated the business of keeping the internet 
running has become.

   (AP) -- A major outage in Amazon's cloud computing network Tuesday severely 
disrupted services at a wide range of U.S. companies for more than five hours, 
the latest sign of just how concentrated the business of keeping the internet 
running has become.

   The incident at Amazon Web Services mostly affected the eastern U.S., but 
still impacted everything from airline reservations and auto dealerships to 
payment apps and video streaming services to Amazon's own massive e-commerce 
operation. That included The Associated Press, whose publishing system was 
inoperable for much of the day, greatly limiting its ability to publish its 
news report.

   Amazon has still said nothing about what, exactly, went wrong. In fact, the 
company limited its communications Tuesday to terse technical explanations on 
an AWS dashboard and a brief statement delivered via spokesperson Richard Rocha 
that acknowledged the outage had affected Amazon's own warehouse and delivery 
operation but said the company was "working to resolve the issue as quickly as 
possible."

   Roughly five hours after numerous companies and other organizations began 
reporting issues, the company said in a post on the AWS status page that it had 
"mitigated" the underlying problem responsible for the outage, which it did not 
describe. It took some affected companies hours more to thoroughly check their 
systems and restart their own services.

   Amazon Web Services was formerly run by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who succeeded 
founder Jeff Bezos in July. The cloud-service operation is a huge profit center 
for Amazon. It holds roughly a third of the $152 billion market for cloud 
services, according to a report by Synergy Research -- a larger share than its 
closest rivals, Microsoft and Google, combined.

   To technologist and public data access activist Carl Malamud, the AWS outage 
highlights how much Big Tech has warped the internet, which was originally 
designed as a distributed and decentralized network intended to survive mass 
disasters such as nuclear attack.

   "When we put everything in one place, be it Amazon's cloud or Facebook's 
monolith, we're violating that fundamental principle," said Malamud, who 
developed the internet's first radio station and later put a vital U.S. 
Securities and Exchange Commission database online. "We saw that when Facebook 
became the instrument of a massive disinformation campaign, we just saw that 
today with the Amazon failure."

   Widespread and often lengthy outages resulting from single-point failures 
appear increasingly common. In June, the behind-the-scenes content distributor 
Fastly suffered a failure that briefly took down dozens of major internet sites 
including CNN, The New York Times and Britain's government home page.

   Then in October, Facebook -- now known as Meta Platforms -- blamed a "faulty 
configuration change" for an hours-long worldwide outage that took down 
Instagram and WhatsApp in addition to its titular platform.

   This time, problems began midmorning on the U.S. East Coast, said Doug 
Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik Inc, a network intelligence 
firm. Netflix was one of the more prominent names affected; Kentik saw a 26% 
drop in traffic to the streaming service.

   Customers trying to book or change trips with Delta Air Lines had trouble 
connecting to the airline. "Delta is working quickly to restore functionality 
to our AWS-supported phone lines," said spokesperson Morgan Durrant. The 
airline apologized and encouraged customers to use its website or mobile app 
instead.

   Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said it switched to West Coast servers after 
some airport-based systems were affected by the outage. Customers were still 
reporting outages to DownDetector, a popular clearinghouse for user outage 
reports, more than three hours after they started. Southwest spokesman Brian 
Parrish said there were no major disruptions to flights.

   Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said the company's U.S. East Region for dealer 
services went down. The company has apps that access inventory data, monthly 
payment calculators, service bulletins and other items. More than 20 apps were 
affected.

   Also according to DownDetector, people trying to use Instacart, Venmo, 
Kindle, Roku, and Disney+ reported issues. The McDonald's app was also down. 
But the airlines American, United, Alaska and JetBlue were unaffected.

   Madory said he saw no reason to suspect nefarious activity. He said the 
recent cluster of major outages reflects how complex the networking industry 
has become. "More and more these outages end up being the product of automation 
and centralization of administration," he said. "This ends up leading to 
outages that are hard to completely avoid due to operational complexity but are 
very impactful when they happen."

   It was unclear how, or whether, the outage was affecting the federal 
government. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in 
an email response to questions that it was working with Amazon "to understand 
any potential impacts this outage may have for federal agencies or other 
partners."

 
 
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