How a typo caused internet havoc this week

An Amazon Web Services outage that caused massive disruption to the East Coast internet this week has been blamed on a typo punched in by one of the company’s workers.

The outage hit Amazon Web Services Tuesday, impacting lots of web pages on the East Coast as the cloud giant experienced problems with its Simple Storage Service (S3). Widely used for backup and archive, S3 is harnessed by a host of companies.

In a statement, Amazon Web Services explained that a member of its S3 team was attempting to debug an issue on the S3 billing system. At 12.37 EST the worker executed a command that was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems used in the billing process. “Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended,” Amazon explained, in its statement. “The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems.”

The web giant noted that removing the systems caused each of them to require a full restart. S3 was operating normally again by 4:54 p.m. EST Tuesday, it said.


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