A Virgin spokesman confirmed flights and guest check-in were not affected by the outage, but the airline’s call centres needed to be rerouted to a back-up line and the website crashed for around an hour.
Telco and banking industry sources said an internal fault at web services company Akamai, which occurred about 3pm AEST on Thursday, was the source of the problem. Akamai runs one of the world’s biggest content delivery networks, or CDNs, platforms that make the internet faster and more stable by making information available across many locations.
An Akamai spokesperson acknowledged the problem.
“We are aware of the issue and actively working to restore services as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.
Last week an internal outage at Fastly, another leading CDN, took down global news sites and retailers for almost an hour. That was caused by a coding error and resulted in major websites, including The New York Times, BBC, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, going offline.
Cyber attacks have spiked during COVID-19 as hackers preyed on workers who are vulnerable to phishing scams.
The two recent high-profile cyber attacks against meat-processing company JBS and Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline both ended with multimillion-dollar ransoms being paid after hackers froze computer systems and brought operations to a halt.
ANZ chief information security officer Lynwen Connick recently said companies should avoid paying ransom and pointed to work being completed by the government and private companies to develop a digital platform to share information quickly and securely about cyber attacks and threats.
Daniel D’Alessandro, co-founder of Australian CDN Peakhour.io, said that the occurrence of two outages in as many weeks showed that major organisations needed to invest in redundancies.
“Akamai is a venerable company and well respected globally, but outages can happen to anyone,” he said.
“Companies routing their traffic through a third party, whether it’s a CDN or otherwise, all need a Plan B, just like with any other critical piece of their IT infrastructure.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.