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Brief Internet Outage Caused by Juniper Firmware Update

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments
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The brief internet downtime experienced on Monday was caused by an update bug in Juniper router firmware.

Monday Internet surfers discovered that there were no virtual waves to ride for around 30 seconds. The "internet death" covered the entire nation, and although the downtime was more brief than a pair of thongs, reports of the outage lit up the newswire once consumers were able to get back online. Eventually Time Warner owned up to the problem, indicating that not every American was left watching Maury and Judge Judy Monday morning instead of reading online news and watching kittens via YouTube.

Ironically, the company made the problem known via Twitter (seriously?). "We appear to be recovering from a large but brief internet outage affecting most of our service areas," Time Warner said. "Please attempt to connect again." To Time Warner's defense, customers could still access the Twitter feed using mobile devices via Verizon, AT&T and so on despite how silly reporting an internet outage via Twitter actually sounds.

Then on Tuesday additional reports indicated that the nationwide outage actually only lasted for 10 to 15 seconds, and even affected numerous ISPs in the UK, including Eclipse Internet and Easynet. The problem, according to reports, was caused by a core dump of main memory on Juniper routers. The core memory dump affected routers running Junos 10.2 and 10.3, and was caused by a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) update bug. These Juniper routers reside at tier one network provider Level 3 which routes internet traffic between the United States, the UK and the rest of the world.

"Shortly after 9am ET today, Level 3's network experienced several outages across North America and Europe relating to some of the routers on our network," Level 3 said on Monday. "Our technicians worked quickly to bring systems back online. At this time, all connection issues have been resolved, and we are working hard with our equipment vendors to determine the exact cause of the outage and ensure all systems are stable."

"This morning, Juniper learned of a Border Gateway Protocol edge router issue that affected a small percentage of customers," added Mark Bauhaus, Juniper executive vice president of services, support and operations. "A software fix is available, and we've been working with our customers to immediately deploy the fix."

Link-shortening service bit.ly, CBS Interactive and RIM's BlackBerry service were just a few websites and online services that suffered an interruption thanks to the network outages across the globe. But as of Tuesday morning, the internet seemed to be up and running as usual. That said, the brief glitch caused by the router update on Monday leads us to wonder just how easy it would be for a terrorist to take down the entire global internet by injecting a malicious update. Scary.

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  • 25 Hide
    blade061188 , November 8, 2011 4:30 PM
    Quote:
    the brief glitch caused by the router update on Monday leads us to wonder just how easy it would be for a terrorist to take down the entire global internet by injecting a malicious update. Scary.


    A little sensationalist to jump from a 30 second downtime due to a firmware update, to terrorist attack...
  • 20 Hide
    therabiddeer , November 8, 2011 4:38 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomSums up perfectly what the majority of people (read: idiots) are doing on the net.

    Whats wrong with watching kittens on youtube? It is cute and entertaining.
  • 17 Hide
    hoof_hearted , November 8, 2011 4:41 PM
    The Chinese are taking note :) 
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    blade061188 , November 8, 2011 4:30 PM
    Quote:
    the brief glitch caused by the router update on Monday leads us to wonder just how easy it would be for a terrorist to take down the entire global internet by injecting a malicious update. Scary.


    A little sensationalist to jump from a 30 second downtime due to a firmware update, to terrorist attack...
  • 9 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 8, 2011 4:31 PM
    Quote:
    watching kittens via YouTube


    Sums up perfectly what the majority of people (read: idiots) are doing on the net.
  • 20 Hide
    therabiddeer , November 8, 2011 4:38 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomSums up perfectly what the majority of people (read: idiots) are doing on the net.

    Whats wrong with watching kittens on youtube? It is cute and entertaining.
  • 7 Hide
    Yuka , November 8, 2011 4:41 PM
    blade061188A little sensationalist to jump from a 30 second downtime due to a firmware update, to terrorist attack...


    Well, you hack things better when they're booting up and not fully "aware" (if you want to call it that) 8)

    Cheers!
  • 17 Hide
    hoof_hearted , November 8, 2011 4:41 PM
    The Chinese are taking note :) 
  • 8 Hide
    CaedenV , November 8, 2011 4:42 PM
    Isn't the whole idea of the internet for things to be redundant for multiple routes to be made in the event of hardware failure? anywho, it dosnt sound too terrible.

    In other news; I love the new Tom's layout! Way to go back to a more classic look of things!
  • 8 Hide
    zorky9 , November 8, 2011 4:50 PM
    therabiddeerWhats wrong with watching kittens on youtube? It is cute and entertaining.

    meow that
  • 2 Hide
    STravis , November 8, 2011 4:57 PM
    This is a cover up - just like they said that 3 mile island was a nuclear incident (when we know full well what happened with Weapon 11)
  • 1 Hide
    Ichy , November 8, 2011 5:03 PM
    @blade .... just because watching videos of unbelievable cute kittens doing random things is addictive as all hell doesn't mean that the majority of people that do are idiots.
  • 6 Hide
    phasmantis , November 8, 2011 5:11 PM
    therabiddeerWhats wrong with watching kittens on youtube? It is cute and entertaining.


    Haven't you heard? It's only productive to comment on Tom's articles!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 8, 2011 5:15 PM
    While some of the terms used within this article are accurate, the overall description is not even close to reality. The problem stems from the fact that few people truly understand that there is no "Internet". There is only a large network made up of interconnections of other private networks. Many of those networks are run by large telecommunications companies such as Level3. In this case some of the networks are using Juniper Networks routers, and a subset of those were running software affected by this software issue. This was nowhere close to an "Internet" outage. Some people lost their only connection to the network at large, or lost reachability to some set of sites.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , November 8, 2011 5:23 PM
    blade061188A little sensationalist to jump from a 30 second downtime due to a firmware update, to terrorist attack...

    fear Fear FEAR!!!

    Its what the media is best at.
  • 0 Hide
    SOSTrooper , November 8, 2011 5:24 PM
    Quote:
    Ironically, the company made the problem known via Twitter (seriously?).


    Nothing wrong with updates from Twitter. It's the new way to pass information quickly and to communicate between big companies and little people. So I actually give them props for reporting the problem right away, rather than issuing a generic statement a day afterward explaining what happened.
  • 0 Hide
    bison88 , November 8, 2011 5:37 PM
    So yesterdays big news story fuss was over a 30 second downtime? Oh brother.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , November 8, 2011 5:52 PM
    so, 10-15 seconds of down time... and it made big news?

    its common for me to be out of internet for 1-5 minutes at a time mutipul times a day, most likely router or modems fault, but o well.

    how is this major news? and dont tell me everything that may be effected by a down time of 10-30 seconds, because realisticly, if a hospital only has 10-30 seconds to save you, they arent looking up and reading a detailed medical record, they have the time to get the physical file if they need it, its only convenience
  • 0 Hide
    pwnorbpwnd , November 8, 2011 5:57 PM
    You mad about our piracy Time Warner?
  • 7 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 8, 2011 6:00 PM
    amk-aka-PhantomSums up perfectly what the majority of people (read: idiots) are doing on the net.

    So to you, the majority of people are idiots? It must be lonely up there...
  • 0 Hide
    dfusco , November 8, 2011 6:09 PM
    It knocked my VOIP for a loop.
  • 1 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , November 8, 2011 7:18 PM
    What was that 'bout cloud computing being the future?
  • 0 Hide
    Nightsilver , November 8, 2011 7:30 PM
    Lol. An internet outage that spanned the amount of time it takes for the average Tom's reader to breathe in and out through their mouths made the news. Hilarious.
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