Amazon UK, DE, FR, IT, AT all taken offline

No primary category set

Amazon UK, France, Germany Austria and Italy were down for almost half an hour this evening from about 9.15pm GMT. It also appears to have affected other websites which run on the Amazon Cloud Computing Services.

It’s not yet known if this was an attack in response to Amazon ending the hosting for the Wikileaks website, but it had been previously reported that hackers had given up trying to penetrate the Amazon websites as being too difficult to attack. In the mean time hacking efforts had been concentrated on others such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard.

It would appear that the likely target of today’s downtime was Amazon’s data centre in Ireland where all the affected websites are hosted in Dublin.

It’s very likely there there are no serious security breaches at Amazon, but that this was what’s known as a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDOS). A denial of service is performed by sending so many requests for information to a server that it is overloaded and can’t respond to legitimate users such as Amazon buyers. A distributed denial-of-service means that multiple computers are being used, often these are computers which have previously been compromised by hackers and are being used without the owners knowledge.

Whilst it was a relatively short downtime it is already sending shock waves through the ecommerce world that one of the largest retailers and marketplaces in the world can be taken off line on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The world is becoming reliant on the Internet and for a group to be able to knock one of the largest sites in the world offline is a troubling concept. Today it was for just half an hour, tomorrow it could be for a much longer period of time.

Edited to update: Amazon say that it was a was a hardware failure in their European data centre that caused the outage and not hacking.

17 Responses

  1. Yep, we were unable to process orders for a while after 9.00pm seems to be working now though. Just what we need after the challenging year we’ve had!

  2. I can’t understand why Paypal and Amazon choose to play politics. I understand the US goverment told Paypal to stop accepting payments for Wikileaks, but if they offer a Payment service they offer a service. I thought the customer is suppossed to be king. Companies shouldn’t alienate customers, unless they’re Welsh (only joking), (No I’m Not).

  3. I have to take issue with this overly dramatic and scaremongering paragraph.

    Whilst it was a relatively short downtime it is already sending shock waves through the ecommerce world that one of the largest retailers and marketplaces in the world can be taken off line on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The world is becoming reliant on the Internet and for a group to be able to knock one of the largest sites in the world offline is a troubling concept. Today it was for just half an hour, tomorrow it could be for a much longer period of time.

    What happened was more like a protest on the street, holding up traffic for a few hours. Or like a picket line making it more difficult to get to a store. Legitimate means of protest, the public has a right to voice their opinions peacefully, no one got physically harmed. As with physical demonstrations those who made the effort spoke for many many more people, just read the comments supportive of Wikileaks. Again I suggest the coverage at businessinsider and the comments there, the comments more important to read than the articles.

    It is not possible to form a picket line at PayPal’s door, if it were I’m sure it would have been done many times! A traditional protest march down Oxford Street would target the wrong companies. Remember this is about political and human rights issues and we clearly are seeing corrupt government at work conspiring to restrict the rights of a journalist, and we have seen companies get involved in the politics. How do you suggest legitimate protest be enacted against internet companies?

  4. The west show coverage of China’s issuses with censoring Google, now the US goverment plays the same game with Wikileaks. Where does the free world begin and end?, or does it even exist?

  5. Re Wikileaks

    Amazon said they terminated service because Wikileaks had violated their TOS. There was a news report that Wikileaks had obtained a court order requiring them to restore service, I have not found any independent verification of this.

    So far as PayPal is concerned they have admitted that the US Government did not request or require them to close Wikileaks’ account.

    They did what they do quite often and can do to YOU at any time they feel like it with no notice whatsoever, they froze the account.

    Regardless of your politics, in the USA a person is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law. Assange has not even been charged let alone convicted. As a foreign national, nonresident in the USA, it is unclear that he or Wikileaks have even committed an illegal act in the USA by publication.

    PayPal gets around this by saying they haven’t taken the money in your account, it is still there, you simply can’t get at it or use it. Naturally they use it as permitted by their TOS in the interbank short term loan pool.

  6. The US goverment is really no different to China’s, they have the same values. They have not regard for freedom of speach.

  7. You can’t operate legitimately if the government hates you. The ‘buck’ stops with them. They should start taking government information websites down instead to cause embarrassment but ultimately not endangering or hurting anyone.

  8. The internet is good for protest. I’ve not had my bins empted for two weeks so I’ve posted photos of them on London Tonights Facebook page.

RELATED POSTS..

Amazon Fresh launches NEW first-ever Prime Member Deals initiative

Amazon Fresh launches NEW first-ever Prime Member Deals initiative

Referral Fee Changes Amazon Base Reserve policy impacts cashflow Amazon Disbursements held & VAT Liability email Amazon delay FBA Fee changes (and correct errors)

Amazon delay FBA Fee changes (and correct errors)

Retail Media strategies for Amazon Advertising on Prime Day with Umer Paracha

Retail Media strategies for Amazon Advertising on Prime Day with Umer Paracha

£1 billion collective action damages claim against Amazon by UK retailers

£1 billion collective action damages claim against Amazon by UK retailers

Amazon Global Logistics Own Consolidation

Amazon Global Logistics Own Consolidation

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Latest

Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars