Akamai blames 'global DNS attack' for disruptions

A global attack on the DNS (domain name system) caused disruptions affecting customers of Internet hosting company Akamai Technologies, including search engine sites, said Jeff Young, an Akamai spokesman.

Akamai disputed early reports that the disruption in service to the sites, including yahoo.com, google.com and microsoft.com, was specific to its network of DNS servers, which translate user-friendly domain names into numeric IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Instead, the problem on Akamai's network was part of a "large scale international attack on the Internet infrastructure," Young said. However, at least one Web performance monitoring company said it has no evidence of a wider attack.

The attack affected Akamai's Internet name service and a "small number" of the company's customers, primarily search engines that use Akamai to manage traffic to their Web sites, Young said.

"There was an intermittent service issue. It was not an outage on the Akamai network. The name service continued to operate throughout the incident," he said. "We have no information that leads us to believe the attack was directed specifically at Akamai."

However, others aren't so sure.

Systems at Web performance monitoring company Keynote Systems noted a decrease in performance at leading Web sites and said that a number of sites, including those for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Symantec were only at 20 percent capacity for as much as an hour Tuesday, according to Lloyd Taylor, vice president of technology at Keynote.

The companies affected appear to be Akamai customers. Keynote could not rule out a broader attack, but said that the company lacks any evidence to support such. However, traffic to other companies on Keynote's Business 40 Internet Performance Index, which includes the corporate Web sites of Cisco Systems, 3Com and Charles Schwab & Co. were not slowed, he said.

"There's nothing that has shown up as performance issues yet," Taylor said.

Akamai could not provide details about the nature of the attack, where it came from or organizations other than its customers that were affected. However, networks around the world experienced the attack, Young said.

The interruptions at Akamai have the fingerprint of a denial of service attack, in which hundreds or thousands of machines work together to flood a specific Internet address or addresses with malicious traffic, slowing it down, Taylor said.

"You saw things get bad suddenly, then get better slowly," he said.

In contrast, service is typically restored quickly after hardware or software failures, once the cause of the failure is determined, he said.

In the meantime, most of the affected customers have switched and are using their own DNS servers or those hosted by other companies, Taylor said. However, the Akamai DNS service appeared to be up and running, and Google was still using it to resolve requests to their site Tuesday, he said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?