Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Strangest of Coincidences

Yesterday, a number of sites and company interruptions occurred. United Airlines experienced a period of over an hour where their planes were grounded. The New York Stock Exchange had an outage of over four hours. The Wall Street Journal's site was down.

I am not taking a position on this; I am just asking you to put your Thinking Hat on. My Thinking Hat got mixed up with my Bondage Hat, causing all sorts of problems at home.


United announced a network connectivity issue was to blame. Shortly thereafter, it became an automation issue. This morning, a router was to blame, along with a semi-technical explanation of how difficult it was to troubleshoot the issue. [While a router can cause a network connectivity issue, I tend to doubt it. Any serious network will have redundancy to prevent outages.]

The computer problem in the airline's reservation system caused the FAA to impose what is known as a ground stop at 8:26 a.m. ET, meaning United flights were not allowed to take off. It lifted the stop for feeder airlines that fly under the name United Express about 15 minutes later, but it took until just before 9:47 a.m. for the ground stop to be lifted for United flights.

An airline official said "there was no hacking whatsoever" in the outage. Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson assured the public that United's outage was not connected to a computer problem that disrupted trading at the New York Stock Exchange.

In another recent United grounding, several passengers tweeted that they were told the problem was an issue with bogus flight plans being sent to the airline’s computers. United referred to the problem as "dispatching information".


Around 11:30 am, trading on the New York Stock Exchange came to an abrupt halt. According to the NYSE, there was a technical issue. The outage ran until 3:15.

Once again, the Exchange and federal authorities said it wasn’t the result of a hack.  Isn't that wonderful? Little to no information has come out about what caused the outage, but we know, beyond shadow of a doubt, that this isn't a hack. Or terrorism. Or Anthrax.

Related or not, this is the tweet from Anonymous the previous evening:

Also completely coincidental was a tweet from Senator Bill Nelson:


The website of the Wall Street Jounal went down at about 11:45 am, sorta.  The newspaper's homepage displayed a 504 outage, though other sections continued to function. The 'glitch' was corrected by 12:46 pm.

NBC News' Pete Williams reported that officials do not think the glitches at United and the NYSE are connected, and it's possible that with the NYSE news, The Wall Street Journal's homepage is crashing under intense traffic. [snicker]


In California, there have been at least eleven separate cases of someone cutting fiber internet lines.

And there we have it, whatever it is.
There sure are a lot of coincidences here.
Again, I don't have enough information to arrive at a decent conclusion but I wanted to present the facts so far. Odds are we aren't going to hear much more and will be expected to forget it.

Thanks for thinking with me.

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