There’s been much ado about Google this week — but not for a new beta product or developer’s tool. The Internet search giant’s engine seemed to run out of gas over the weekend, leaving millions of surfers stranded on the side of the Information Highway in what some speculated was a hack attack.
Google denies any security breaches in its infrastructure, instead blaming a Domain Name System glitch for the blackout.
“It was not a hacking or a security issue,” Google spokesman Steve Langdon told TechNewsWorld. “Google’s global properties wereunavailable for a short period of time. We remedied the problem and access to Google was quickly restored worldwide.”
Despite the quick fix, the fact remains that Google’s search page was down from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Access to Gmail, Google News and other properties were also unavailable during that period.
What really happened, and how will this impact consumer confidence? The answers are hazy, but there is much speculation about why Google went offline. Some are pointing to the possibility that the company’s new beta tool, Web Accelerator, is the culprit. Google has closed down the beta of the new tool since the outage.
A Google posting on the site where users just last week were allowed to download the software now says, “Thank you for your interest in Google Web Accelerator. We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support.”
Speculation upon Speculation
Jupiter Research analyst Gary Stein told TechNewsWorld that nobody really knows what happened to Google — except maybe Google.
“You can speculate all you want about what happened ,” Stein said. “The Google Accelerator does put a new kind of a load on its system. But it’s still speculation. Someone could have just spilled their coffee or tripped over a plug.”
Or it could have been a DNS cache poisoning attack. Security firms have recently warned of this type of attack, which injects false information into the DNS caches of compressed servers and causes them to reroute traffic away from legitimate sites to fake ones. This tactic is becoming a more common as phishers, or online identity thieves, attempt to trick victims into providing sensitive information by spoofing legitimate Web sites. Still,Google denies any attack.
Joining the Crowd
Stein said Google’s chagrin is not unusual in the Internet world. After all, Amazon went down some years ago and eBay has also blacked out. Consumers will likely be very forgiving of Google, he added, but Internet companies should view this as a wake up call.
“At the very least this is a bit of a reminder that businesses that are built upon the Internet, just like anything else, have potential for things to go wrong,” he said.