Amazon Employee Nearly Kills Internet With Typo

A loss of Amazon cloud services reportedly cost companies $150M
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2017 6:54 PM CST
Internet Crippled by Amazon Employee's Typo
Amazon’s cloud-computing service Amazon Web Services experienced problems in its eastern US region Tuesday, causing widespread problems for thousands of websites and apps.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

The internet came crashing down Tuesday due to a single typo made by an Amazon employee in Virginia, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to CNN, the employee was trying to fix a problem with the S3 billing system. S3 is part of Amazon Web Services, which hosts hundreds of thousands of websites and apps. It reportedly has more than a million users and accounts for 40% of the cloud services market. That's a lot of websites and apps. Anyway, the employee was trying to take a few servers offline to work on the billing issue but made a typo in the command and accidentally took a whole bunch of servers offline instead.

The loss of S3 servers kept news sites from publishing stories and Slack users from sharing files. More than half of the top 100 online retailers saw their websites slow by 20% or more. The list of affected sites and apps included GitHub, Venmo, Quora, Medium, and Giphy. The S3 service outage reportedly cost companies more than $150 million all told. The servers were down for nearly four hours. Engadget reports it took Amazon "longer than expected" to get the problem fixed because it was the first time some servers had been restarted in "many years." Amazon says it's "making several changes" to avoid a repeat in the future. (More Amazon stories.)

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