To update: DNS service Akamai, which is widely believed to be behind the massive failures of the UK’s largest banks, says it has implemented a fix and expects “normal operations” to resume soon. However, it warns against continuing to monitor the situation that has resulted in Halifax, Barclays, Lloyds, and TSB customers being unable to access their accounts, make payments, or manage credit cards.
The original story follows below …
If your bank account is held with one of the UK’s largest high street banks, you have likely been hit by a seismic outage rocking the UK right now. A number of the biggest brands, including Barclays, HSBC, TSB, Lloyds, Tesco Bank, and Halifax, are suffering from a huge outage that leaves thousands of customers unable to log into online or mobile banking. HSBC also suffers from a similar problem: customers cannot connect to the mobile banking app on iPhone and Android or the online banking portal.
Online banking enables customers to check their account balance, manage their accounts, transfer money, plan standing orders and make one-off payments. The outage, which began around 5pm in the UK, has caused thousands to stop performing these daily chores. For those paying rent, repaying friends, or transferring the balance of a vacation or home purchase, the failure is devastating.
Thousands of angry customers have flooded social media to complain about the ongoing banking problems. Almost 3,000 people have complained about Barclays alone. A similar number of reports can be found from a number of other banks involved in the failure.
The outage is so complete that even Barclay’s status page, which is used to notify customers of issues affecting service, is currently offline.
The independent website DownDetector, which tracks the performance of online applications and services by tracking complaints on social media, shows the sheer number of web-based services affected by the recent outage. In addition to high street banks, a number of popular online services are currently available, including the PlayStation Network, which enables multiplayer games with players around the world, AirBnB, and the Amazon website for users to be offline.
It seems that the Akamai DNS service may be behind the current problems that have impacted such a wide range of businesses and services. Akamai provides critical infrastructure for a number of these services and has confirmed that there are some issues with its service.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed until Akamai confirms that it is behind the problems. However, given that some of the global brands of the recent failure are listed on the Akamai website customer page, it seems very likely.
For those who don’t know, DNS is an essential infrastructure for the web. The first thing that happens when you type a URL into your web browser’s address bar – such as express.co.uk – is that the web domain is translated to an IP address that your computer understands – like 192.168.1.1 . To translate the user-friendly web address you wrote into the computer-literate IP address, your computer uses DNS.
This works like a giant phone book telling your browser which IP address to load in order to take you to the website you want.
Having the DNS offline would explain why users’ computers could not load web pages and indicate that users were offline – when they were not.