Tech

A Typo Recently Took Down A Significant Portion Of The Internet

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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A big portion of the Internet was inaccessible or running really slowly Tuesday because someone at Amazon mistakenly input the wrong “command” on a computer.

Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), a server product that powers a number of websites and apps, was disrupted for several hours. A command, in technical terms, means any instruction to a computer or device to perform a particular task.

The tech conglomerate, which is more known for its e-commerce platform and supply chain operations, explained that the error occurred while an employee for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) was trying to fix another error that was slowing down the servers.

“An authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process,” Amazon writes in a postmortem. “Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended.” (RELATED: Internet Crashes Will Be Hard To Stop After Obama’s Internet Giveaway)

Since the staff member executed the wrong command, two subsystems that supply Internet to many sites on the eastern side of the U.S. were rendered defective.

“S3 subsystems are designed to support the removal or failure of significant capacity with little or no customer impact,” Amazon’s internal analysis continues. “We build our systems with the assumption that things will occasionally fail, and we rely on the ability to remove and replace capacity as one of our core operational processes.” (RELATED: How Advanced Technology Can Save Us From Future Internet Shutdowns)

Apple, another powerful tech company, was affected by the slip-up since it uses AWS for iCloud operations, according to 9to5Mac.

“Finally, we want to apologize for the impact this event caused for our customers. While we are proud of our long track record of availability with Amazon S3, we know how critical this service is to our customers, their applications and end users, and their businesses,” Amazon concludes.

Portions of Internet have gone down for parts of America before. Websites like Twitter, Spotify, Reddit and many others were not working in October because unknown hackers reportedly attacked certain servers. Cybercriminals apparently bombarded the servers by directing several devices and the respective unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (the numerical label assigned to every device) to targeted online systems, known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. (RELATED: There Are At Least 170 Million Internet-Connected Devices Susceptible To Hacking In The U.S)

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