Airlines, banks hit in web outage after Putin-Biden summit

The websites of several US airlines, including American, Southwest, United and Delta — along with those of other companies and financial institutions — went down Thursday, hours after the summit between President Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, where the two discussed ending cyberattacks.

In the second global internet outage in as many weeks, more than 1,000 user reports indicated problems at Southwest, with over 400 reports indicating the same for Delta, Reuters reported, citing website tracker

That number was about 300 for the other two US carriers.

On Wednesday, Southwest canceled nearly 300 flights and delayed more than 500 a day after it was forced to temporarily halt operations due to a computer glitch.

Meanwhile, Downdetector reported that websites for E-Trade, ADP, Navy Federal Credit Union, Discover and Vanguard also experienced problems.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. and Australia’s central bank also went down briefly Thursday, Bloomberg News reported.

Southwest Airlines' website experienced an outage.
Southwest Airlines’ website was among those that experienced an outage.
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the outages, including those at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., were linked to a failure at Akamai Technologies Inc., which helps clients manage web services, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The outages recalled the June 8 global outage triggered by a software failure at content delivery platform Fastly Inc., according to the news outlet.

That incident affected some Amazon sites, Shopify, Stripe, Twitch, Reddit, the UK government’s homepage, the New York Times and CNN, among others, NPR reported.

At the summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Putin said he and Biden “reached an agreement that we will start negotiations” on curbing cybercrime.

But during his solo press conference after their meeting, the strongman claimed that the US is responsible for more cybercrime than the Motherland — ignoring the fact that Russian criminals are suspected of being responsible for the recent hacks.

The new, cascading failures served as a stark reminder of how vulnerable the world’s biggest websites are to the impact of disruptions ranging from human error to cyberattacks, according to Bloomberg.

Akamai told Bloomberg News in a statement it was “actively working to restore services as soon as possible.”

Vladimir Putin claimed that the US is responsible for more cybercrime than Russia.
Vladimir Putin made the claim that the US is responsible for more cybercrime than Russia.
Peter Klaunzer – Pool/Keystone via Getty Images

Chris Nicholson, a spokesman for the Massachusetts-based IT firm, told NPR in a statement: “Akamai can confirm the segment of our Prolexic platform impacted is up and running and we are continuing to validate services.”

Nicholson added: “We will share more details of what transpired, but our first priority is ensuring all customer impact is mitigated.”

Many of the websites affected Thursday were back online within the hour, some after rerouting to other providers, the outlet reported.

Over 400 reports indicated that Delta's website was temporarily shuttered.
Over 400 reports indicated that Delta’s website was temporarily shuttered.
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Companies including Hong Kong’s exchange and Southwest said they were probing the incident.

“The pause in connectivity did not impact our operation,” Southwest told Bloomberg, which said it was unclear what triggered the outages.

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