Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Shopify and Boots are thought to have lost around £1 billion during yesterday’s global internet outages, leading MPs to call for new safeguards to be put in place.
Yesterday’s outage, which occurred at around 11am (BST) and lasted for roughly an hour, saw thousands of prominent websites ranging from official government pages to social media sites like Reddit go down.
In what is being called the “hour the internet broke”, a host of leading retailers including both Amazon and its cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) were also went down.
According to ParcelHero’s head of consumer research David Jinks, retailers across the UK, Europe and US will have incurred massive losses due to the brief outage.
“Amazon alone currently turns over $950,000 a minute,” Jinks said.
“It was one of the quickest sites to get back online but some organisations were down for around an hour.
“We believe retail worldwide will have lost around £1bn. Time really is money in the era of e-commerce.”
It is understood that the outage was due to a glitch at Fastly, a popular content delivery network (CDN provider) which is used by thousands of major websites to help boost site speeds and protect themselves against cyber-attacks.
While Fastly said it has now identified the issue and implemented a fix, many have raised concerns over how an update at one relatively unknown technology company can bring down huge portions of the internet.
According to The Telegraph, Ministers have launched an investigation into the issue after large portions of the gov.uk website were taken offline.
Conservative MP and chair of the the all-party parliamentary group for cyber security Simon Fell, said: “This incident shows just how reliant we are on a few big providers to host and enable access to content online.
“Thankfully today’s outage was brief, but the Government and National Cyber Security Centre should take this incident as an urgent prompt to review how to build-in resilience to infrastructure just as critical as our physical transport networks or even our broadcast media.
“Single points of failure put us at risk not just to error and unexpected downtime, but also show where we are vulnerable to cyber-attacks or warfare. It is time to take heed and act.”
Jinks added: “Fastly was quick to restore services and implement a fix, but the problem does underline how vulnerable retailers are if major international cloud computing services fail.
“Where possible, retailers need to have a Plan B to bypass various systems and keep trading if they hit a problem. Imagine the money Amazon and its marketplace traders would lose if this had happened on Prime Day or Black Friday?”