Airlines and banks hit by Internet blackout after Putin-Biden summit

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The websites of several US airlines, including American, Southwest, United and Delta – as well as those of other companies and financial institutions – were shut down on Thursday, hours after the summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two discussed the end of cyber attacks.

During the second global internet outage in as many weeks, more than 1,000 user reports reported problems to Southwest, with more than 400 reports indicating the same for Delta, Reuters reported, citing the website. Downdetector.com tracking.

That number was around 300 for the other two US carriers.

Southwest canceled nearly 300 flights on Wednesday and delayed more than 500 a day after being forced to temporarily halt operations due to an IT glitch.

Meanwhile, Downdetector reported that websites for E-Trade, ADP, Navy Federal Credit Union, Discover, and Vanguard have also experienced issues.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. and the Australian central bank also fell briefly on Thursday, Bloomberg News reported.

Southwest Airlines' website suffered an outage.
Southwest Airlines’ website was among those that suffered the outage.
MARK RALSTON / AFP via Getty Images

Some of the outages, including those of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., were linked to a failure of Akamai Technologies Inc., which helps customers manage web services, according to people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg said.

The outages were reminiscent of the June 8 global outage triggered by a software failure of the content delivery platform Fastly Inc., according to the outlet.

This incident affected some sites Amazon, Shopify, Stripe, Twitch, Reddit, the UK government homepage, The New York Times and CNN, among others, NPR reported.

At the summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Putin said he and Biden “have reached an agreement that we will start negotiations” on the fight against cybercrime.

But during his solo press conference after their meeting, the strongman claimed that the United States is responsible for more cybercrime than the motherland, ignoring the fact that Russian criminals are believed to be responsible for recent hacks.

The new cascading failures have been a vivid reminder of just how vulnerable the world’s largest websites are to the impact of disruptions ranging from human error to cyberattacks, according to Bloomberg.

Akamai told Bloomberg News in a statement that it “is actively working to restore services as soon as possible.”

Vladimir Putin claimed that the United States is responsible for more cybercrime than Russia.
Vladimir Putin claimed that the United States is responsible for more cybercrime than Russia.
Peter Klaunzer – Pool / Keystone via Getty Images

Chris Nicholson, spokesperson for the Massachusetts-based IT company, told NPR in a statement, “Akamai can confirm that the affected segment of our Prolexic platform is operational and we continue to validate services. “

Nicholson added, “We will share more details on what happened, but our first priority is to make sure any customer impact is mitigated. “

Many of the websites affected on Thursday were back online within an hour, some after being redirected to other providers, the outlet reported.

More than 400 reports indicated that Delta's website had been temporarily closed.
More than 400 reports indicated that Delta’s website had been temporarily closed.
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Companies, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Southwest, said they were investigating the incident.

“The connectivity hiatus has not impacted our operations,” Southwest told Bloomberg, who said it was not known exactly what triggered the outages.

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