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Technician’s DNS Change Knocked Microsoft Sites Off the Web

A configuration change made by a Microsoft technician was the source of a Web site blackout that caused many of the software giant’s critical Web sites to be unreachable by their standard domain names for 22 ½ hours Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the company.

Microsoft issued a statement at 7:22 p.m. Pacific Time Wednesday announcing that their sites were back online.

”This was an operational error, and not the result of any issue with Microsoft or third-party products nor the security of our networks,” the company said in the statement.

Among the sites to be unreachable by traditional URLs late Tuesday and most of Wednesday were Microsoft.com and MSN.com. MSNBC.com was reportedly down at the start of business on Wednesday, and millions of Hotmail users spent much of the time without access to e-mail.

The unnamed Microsoft technician made a configuration change at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to the routers on the edge of Microsoft’s Domain Name Service network, which connects domain names with numeric IP addresses.

According to the company statement, the mistaken configuration change limited communication between DNS servers on the Internet and Microsoft’s DNS servers, causing may sites to be unreachable. Those with access to the numeric IP addresses were able to access the sites throughout the apparent outage.

Microsoft removed the configuration changes to the router configuration at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Microsoft reported that all of its sites were once again available Wednesday evening. – Scott Bekker and Isaac Slepner

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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