A widespread disruption caused severe outages for some of the world's biggest websites on Thursday afternoon - and it was all caused by a software update gone horribly wrong.
DownDetector.com showed a sharp and simultaneous spike in outage reports for prominent travel, retail, financial and gaming websites globally. In most cases, the spike in outage reports appeared to start around 11:40 a.m. ET.
Even the Tokyo Olympics website and app were reported to be intermittently down, just hours before the Opening Ceremony.
Some municipal governments reported disruptions to 911 service as well in places like Illinois and Virginia.
Akamai, which operates one of the world's largest and most crucial content delivery networks, reported a problem with its service at about 12:10 p.m. ET. Many partners, including Britain's National Health Service, specifically cited that disruption as a cause of the outage.
At 12:47 p.m. ET, Akamai tweeted that it had implemented a fix and that systems were returning to normal. The company later confirmed that the outage was not the result of a cyberattack - but rather, a bad software update that disrupted the DNS system, which directs users to websites.
"We apologize for the inconvenience that resulted. We are reviewing our software update process to prevent future disruptions," the company tweeted.
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