Hardware fault in Dublin blamed for Amazon.com outage

13 Dec 2010

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A hardware fault on Amazon.com’s servers in Dublin was to blame for a brief outage last night, and not a hactivist attack from hacker group Anonymous.

At 21.15 GMT last night, shoppers in the UK, France, Germany, Austria and Italy were locked out of the site for half an hour.

While it had initially been believed the outage was the work of hacker group Anonymous, Amazon.com says the outage was due to a hardware failure at a Dublin-based hosting facility that serves the site

“The brief interruption to our European retail sites last night was due to hardware failure in our European data centre network and not the result of a (distributed denial of service) attempt,” the BBC quoted a spokesman for the firm as saying.

Amazon last week withdrew its services from WikiLeaks. Anonymous launched an attack against Amazon.com last week as part of its Operation Payback campaign, but the attack failed. Other sites like Visa and MasterCard, which removed their services, were attacked by hactivists and suffered outages.

Poor taste

It is understood that Anonymous had planned to launch a distributed denial of service attack against Amazon.com but decided it did not have sufficient "forces".

It also decided that attacking a major online retailer when ordinary people were buying Christmas presents would have been in poor taste.

Tipping its hat to Amazon.com’s infrastructure, Anonymous said its distributed system makes it more resilient against denial of service attacks.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com