A little after 6pm on Tuesday, countless websites and web services ground to a halt following a reported widespread outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Everything from Slack to Quora to Gizmodo US saw major disruptions. Before Down Detector itself went down, the site showed outages on the tier 1 network Level 3 in most major population centers in the United States.
It’s unclear what’s causing the problem, but AWS did say on its website that it’s experiencing “increased error rates.” More specifically, the company said in an alert:
We’ve identified the issue as high error rates with S3 in US-EAST-1, which is also impacting applications and services dependent on S3. We are actively working on remediating the issue.
Amazon S3 refers to the company’s Simple Storage Service that helps countless websites stay up and running. Because so many services depend on Amazon’s cloud storage, a single outage can cripple America’s internet in a matter of minutes.
The situation undeniably draws comparison to the DDoS attack that affected Dyn’s systems late last year, bringing most of America’s internet to its knees. While it’s unclear if hackers are behind this AWS outage, lots of work days are being ruined for people who depend on the internet to do their jobs.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for more details about the outage and will update this post when we hear back.