December 2018 Outage Report by Uptime.com
December outages occurred across so many different industries it’s impossible to group them. From email to cell phone services to Alexa, outages aplenty affected a variety of people worldwide.
In related news, the FBI shut down 15 websites on December 20, claiming that they were actually DDOS-for-hire websites. The sites claimed to sell network stress-testing services, but authorities claim that they were taking websites down for a price.
Here are the month’s major outages, listed in chronological order.
Email Users Locked Out of Accounts
On December 5, Geauga County, OH government employees were unable to login to their email accounts. The 36-hour outage was due to a couple of unrelated emails with large attachments.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Yahoo Mail users were unable to access their messages. Users also discovered that Yahoo Mail will be shutting down their classic mail services permanently at the end of January. A new service will take its place.
@yahoomail is down and has been for at least an hour in scal.
— MaryW (@Offleash2015) December 6, 2018
Facebook Problems (Again)
The first outage lasted only a couple of minutes. Many Facebook users experienced login issues again two days later. The problems were intermittent and fixed quickly. Some speculate security issues caused the outages.
Cell Phone Outages Prevent Internet Access & Texts for UK Users
On December 6, cellular service O2 customers awoke to find themselves unable to connect to their 4G network. The outage affected users across the entire UK, and appears also affected some Gifgaf and Tesco Mobile customers as well.
Apparently the issue was with software from third party service provider Ericsson. 4G connectivity came back the next day.
Though O2 customers could connect to the internet on December 7, the service provider experienced problems with texting the next day. Customers reported they were unable to send or receive text messages.
I still can’t send texts!! 😠😠😠
— Gill Nedelcu (@gill_nedelcu) December 7, 2018
Financial Service Glitches in Kenya
Many Kenyans were outraged when they were unable to access money, pay bills, or use other Mpesa financial services.
Safaricom, the company that runs the services, say a problem with their core GSM server caused the outage on December 8. Kenyans complained about harrassment from bill collectors and an inability to go grocery shopping because they couldn’t access their funds.
Riders Left Stranded and Takeout Goes Cold
On December 11, a worldwide Uber outage affected all parts of the service. Riders booked rides with drivers who were not on-duty. Undelivered meals frustrated drivers that couldn’t access pickup addresses. Drivers were unable to get trip information about riders.
The outage taught Uber customers an important lesson about having a backup plan in case services they depend on, like Uber, are unavailable.
The Day the Music Stopped in the UK
As UK Spotify users fired up the app to listen to their favorite Christmas music on December 19, many were met with silence. Others were in the middle of wrapping presents as the app suddenly stopped working.
It’s unclear exactly what went wrong, but the outage only lasted a couple of hours.
— cdokolas (@cdokolas) December 19, 2018
Ghostbin Goes Ghost for 48 Hours
On December 22, the popular copy and paste service Ghostbin unexpectedly crashed for users. The 503 error confused many users as no scheduled maintenance was announced. Ghostbin founder Dustin Hewitt later confided the problem was due to overloaded servers and it took some time to get new space because of the holidays. Four days later, services were back to normal.
All I Want for Christmas is Alexa
As proud new Amazon Echo owners hurried to register their shiny new devices on Christmas Day in Europe, many were unable to connect to Amazon’s servers via Alexa.
I’m sorry for the trouble! Some Echo devices in Europe had intermittent connections. These issues have now been resolved and the Alexa Service is working normally. Please let us know if it’s still giving you trouble. ^BH
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) December 25, 2018
Experts aren’t sure the exact cause of the issue, but many speculate that the massive number of requests on Amazon Voice Services (AVS) servers caused the connectivity issues. Such a large number of requests could have been seen as a DDoS attack and rejected by Amazon servers.
Gaming Chat App Suffers Brief Outage
On December 26, the popular gaming chat app Discord experienced a brief outage worldwide. While some users were unaffected, others reported that they were unable to log in or use the app for about 40 minutes.
Major ISP Suffers National Outage
On December 27, ISP CenturyLink experienced a nationwide outage that affected internet connectivity on their entire network. The issues extended into the weekend, and service was fully restored on Saturday evening.
Smart Lighting Outage Keeps Users in the Dark
Philips Hue users were frustrated with an inability to connect to servers on December 27. The outage appears to be similar to the one experienced by Alexa on Christmas. So many new users caused the system to crash, preventing customers from setting up new hubs, bulbs, or turning lights on or off with assistants like Alexa.
Malware Attack Delayed Newspaper Publishing
Our last report of the month turned out not to be an outage afterall. On December 29, a malware attack on several media outlets caused the LA Times and San Diego Union Tribune to delay publishing. Other newspapers were affected, as well. Federal authorities got involved as the attack is suspected to be an attempt to damage infrastructure.
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Other Outage Coverage
For more information on major outages, check out our monthly outage reports and coverage on major events when they happen:
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