Australian central bank among those hit by widespread internet outages

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s central bank, the postal service, several commercial banks and a host of other companies suffered temporary internet outages on Thursday, after a second major blackout following an issue at a cloud computing company in little more than a week.

One of the companies affected, Virgin Australia, said it was “one of many organisations to experience an outage with the Akamai content delivery system,” though the situation was now resolved.

The country’s No. 2 airline said it used Akamai Technologies Inc for IT network authentication.

Akamai operates a CDN, a distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of content.

“We are aware of the issue and actively working to restore services as soon as possible”, a spokesperson for Akamai said in an emailed statement.

Anders Nilsson, chief technology officer at ESET Nordics said the problem was likely caused by an issue with an update or configuration.

The outages predominantly in Australia on Thursday come little more than a week after thousands of government, news and social media websites around the world were hit by a technical issue linked to U.S.-based cloud company Fastly Inc.

In Australia on Thursday, websites belonging to the central bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, had begun to come back online by late afternoon.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cancelled an operation to buy long-dated government bonds because of the technical difficulties.

Websites of major U.S. airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, also experienced disruptions early on Thursday, according to outage monitoring website Downdetector. The websites were back up in about an hour.

It was not immediately clear if the outages in Australia and the United States were linked.

(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett, Kanishka Singh, Wayne Cole, Renju Jose, Paulina Duran, Radhika Anilkumar and Jamie Freed; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Elaine Hardcastle)