Cloudflare traces service outage back to CenturyLink

Cloudflare confirms that the massive outage that occurs on Sunday was due to a malfunction on the side of CenturyLink.

According to Cloudflare, the issue was because of an IP outage from CenturyLink. The issue was promptly addressed, and CenturyLink confirms that services were restored later that day.

Service outage

Reports about the outage surfaced on multiple social media platforms early Sunday morning. Users were complaining about not being able to access certain websites. Some users have also reported that certain apps and online services that require an internet connection are inaccessible as well.

Since the issues appear to stem on the side of CenturyLink, many services were also affected. Users are reporting that they are receiving various HTTPS 5xx code errors like error 522 and error 503.

A closer investigation on the issue reveals that it has to do with “transit provider.” All data centers and services that rely on this particular transit provider were affected by the outage.

Effects of the outage

The outage was so massive that it dropped the global internet traffic by as much as 3.5%, according to investigators. The issue has such a massive impact that affects other internet service providers.

Big tech companies that rely on CenturyLink for internet access were all affected by the outage. Big tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Steam, Discord, and Reddit were all affected. Most of these companies rely on CenturyLink for access to the internet, and Cloudflare for security.

CenturyLink is one of the biggest internet service providers in the United States. As such, the outage created a domino effect in which it crept outside of its infrastructure.

According to CenturyLink, the problem was due to a misconfigured Flowspec rule. This particular protocol is used to distribute firewall rules across huge networks. This protocol is usually used to counter DDoS attacks easily.

Due to the massive scale of the outbreak, it took nearly seven hours to implement the fix. The problem was deep-rooted that CenturyLink has to sever its connections with many of its partners. This rarely happens since it will result in full network disconnection.

To fix the issue, CenturyLink was forced to reset all of its network equipment. Engineers were also forced to fix routing tables just to fix the issue.
As of this writing, Cloudflare confirms that the outage has been resolved. For its part,

CenturyLink also confirms that its services are fully functional following the seven-hour outage.

Featured image courtesy of asharkyu/Shutterstock

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