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Tech Glitch Shuts Down Government, News Websites In Europe And US

Dozens of news and government websites went offline early Tuesday (June 8) due to a glitch at a cloud services provider.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the affected sites included the British government’s main public services portal and high-profile news outlets in America and Europe, including The New York Times and Le Monde in France. The sites were down for about an hour beginning at 6 a.m. Eastern time.

The root of the issue was apparently Fastly Inc., which operates a content-delivery network site used to increase websites’ loading speeds. The company said it fixed a service configuration problem just before 7 a.m., which brought the sites back online.

Fastly CEO Joshua Bixby told the Journal that the company was investigating the problem and that it wasn’t related to an attack. The outage happened days after a ransomware attack on a service that provides email newsletters to the U.S. House, and a breach at the New York City Law Department.

Bixby declined to comment on whether the problems were directly related to the downed websites, but said Fastly would issue an update.

“Fastly operates what it calls an edge cloud network, which means it stores content from its clients’ websites on a large number of servers that are closer to where potential users are located,” noted the report. “Such content-delivery networks trim the amount of time it takes information to reach end-users, speeding up things like website loading and the playing of streaming video.”

But this setup can make large parts of the internet vulnerable to failures on a single delivery network. Fastly, which lists dozens of clients on its website, saw its observed traffic volume drop by 75 percent on Tuesday.

Fastly and PYMNTS collaborated on a report earlier this year that examined the challenges preventing financial institutions (FIs) from pursuing innovation, and how harnessing edge cloud solutions can help them circumvent the limits of their legacy infrastructures. Click here to download the full report.

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