DWF Comments on the Fastly Outage

  • Security , Data
  • 08.06.2021 03:45 pm

Mark Hendry, Director of Data Protection and Cyber Security at global legal business, DWF, comments on the Fastly outage the online presence of major organisations.

"The online presence of major organisations in the economy have been disrupted by a technical issue experienced by a commonly used service provider, Fastly. Amazon, Reddit. Bloomberg, The Financial Times, The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, The Independent, The Spectator and UK Government are all reportedly affected, with websites being inaccessible to many users.

"Fastly provide content delivery network ("CDN") services to companies. The intention of CDNs is to route (or distribute) internet traffic and services through 'nodes' in order to balance the load of traffic, prevent bottlenecks and result in high availability and faster content delivery.  Requests for content are directed by an algorithm, for instance the algorithm might direct the traffic so that it routes through the most available or highest performing node, or so that the traffic takes the fastest network route to the requestor.  This is the reason that some internet users are reporting no issues with accessing content that is unavailable to others – for instance individuals from Berlin are reporting via Twitter that they can access website content that users in London cannot access.

"Fastly have not yet provided comment on the precise nature of the problem.  Some of the affected organisations have apparently sought to rectify the issue, perhaps by reverting to non-CDN schemes of distribution, however if this is the case users of those websites can expect for their experience to be slower than normal until the CDN can be restored.

"Whilst the outage can be considered an availability of services issue, it is not clear at this time whether any underlying data or infrastructure belonging to the affected organisations has become vulnerable as a result of the issue."

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