Nov 26, 2020

AWS cloud outage takes down large part of internet

Cloud
AWS
outage
William Smith
2 min
Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced an outage yesterday that led to many sites and services becoming unavailable
Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced an outage yesterday that led to many sites and services becoming unavailable...

Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced an outage yesterday that led to many sites and services becoming unavailable.

The problem stemmed from a failure in the Kinesis Data Streams API, a data management solution which helps with the processing of real-time data.

According to reports, only one of AWS’s 23 geographic regions (US-East-1) was experiencing issues, though the interconnected nature of the internet led to millions of users being affected.

In updates the company posted on its AWS Service Health Dashboard, the company said in its final update: “We have restored all traffic to Kinesis Data Streams via all endpoints and it is now operating normally. We have also resolved the error rates invoking CloudWatch APIs. We continue to work towards full recovery for IoT SiteWise and details of the service status is below. All other services are operating normally. We have identified the root cause of the Kinesis Data Streams event, and have completed immediate actions to prevent recurrence.”

The extent of the issues highlights the dominance the big tech companies have in the cloud space, and the reliance much of the internet has on their continued uptime. An ecommerce bonanza is expected in the coming days with the confluence of Black Friday and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a huge impact on brick and mortar retailers. If such an outage had occurred a few days later, the consequences could have been much worse.

Among the affected organisations were 1Password, Coinbase, Flickr, Glassdoor, Roku, Vonage and Autodesk, to name a few, with the outage also affecting many of AWS’s own services - the list including ACM, Amplify Console, AppStream2, AppSync, Athena, Batch, CodeArtifact, CodeGuru Profiler, CodeGuru Reviewer, CloudFormation, CloudMap, CloudTrail, Connect, Comprehend, DynamoDB, Elastic Beanstalk, EventBridge, GuardDuty, IoT Services, Lambda, LEX, Macie, Managed Blockchain, Marketplace, MediaLive, MediaConvert, Personalize, RDS Performance Insights, Rekognition, SageMaker, and Workspaces. 

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Jun 24, 2021

Legend: John McAfee

McAfee
Cybersecurity
Intel
2 min
A controversial figure, John McAfee is credited with starting an entire technology industry around cybersecurity

John McAfee is credited with starting the entire cybersecurity industry. In 1987, he set up McAfee Associates and released VirusScan. Previous antivirus programs had been released, but McAfee’s was the first with mass appeal and was soon a day zero (or at least day one) installation for Windows users as well as corporate clients.

McAfee: divisive

But McAfee was also a hugely divisive character. He dismissed his own software, claimed he never used it, and rejoiced when Intel bought McAfee and took his name off “the worst software on the planet.” He was anti-tax, pro-drugs, anti-war and pro-free trade. He was also a tireless crusader for cyber awareness, and set up a political party called the Cyber Party in order to make a bid for the office of president of the US.

“I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet”

McAfee: born in the UK

McAfee was born in Gloucestershire, UK, but moved to Salem, Virginia, where his American father (his mother was English) shot himself when McAfee was 15. McAfee worked at NASA, Univac, Xerox, Computer Sciences Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed. It was while working at the latter he was given a copy of Brain, the first computer virus for PC, and began to engineer a defence.

McAfee: controversy

Controversy dogged McAfee. He was implicated as a ‘person of interest’ in the search for a neighbour who had been shot. He married a prostitute. He claimed a cocaine baron was writing his biography. He was arrested for possession of an unlicensed weapon and for manufacturing drugs in Belize (later released without charge). There were various other arrests (mainly weapons related) but not much would stick until McAfee’s anti-tax stance caught up with him. 

McAfee: arrest

He fled the US as tax authorities turned up the heat on at least four years of non payment of tax and was arrested (again) in Spain in October 2020 at the behest of the US Department of Justice. Charges for fraudulently promoting cryptocurrencies were soon added and he was formally indicted in March 2021. In June 2021, the Spanish National Court authorised McAfee’s extradition to the US, and McAfee was found dead in his cell just hours later in what is widely believed to be a suicide.

McAfee: death

Even in death, McAfee courted controversy, having announced that if he was ever found to have committed suicide, it would mean he had been murdered. A slew of conspiracy theories mushroomed in the hours after his death was announced. It’s just what he would have wanted.

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