Daily Archives: June 22, 2012

Twitter Outage And NatWest Technical Glitches – What’s The Connection?

It’s not been a particularly great week in terms of ‘outages’. Earlier today I blogged about Twitter being offline for a couple of hours yesterday. However, this pales into comparative insignificance when viewed in contrast to the current situation being faced by customers of a major bank in the UK.

Since Tuesday, NatWest has had technical problems which have left millions of account holders unable to access money and delayed salary payments to employees whose companies use the bank. This ‘technical glitch’ continues as I write this blog at 16:54pm on Friday, with NatWest saying that they might not have it fixed until Monday. Well, it’s just as well that I’m not counting on them to deliver my salary into my account before I go on holiday next week. Oh wait, yes I am… Cripes.

Anyway, why is this relevant on the SocialSafe blog? Well, while it’s hard to argue that an inability to withdraw cash from your bank account or defaulting on a Direct Debit are the same as not being able to access Twitter, the situations are more similar than you’d think:

People know they have money in their accounts, but they cannot access it. Likewise, people know that they have a wealth of content stored in the tweets they’ve posted, been mentioned in, and the DMs they have exchanged, yet they cannot access it.

Thankfully with the Twitter outage there is still a way to access this content in such circumstances. By backing up your Twitter account (and for that matter, Facebook, Instagram, Viadeo, Google+ and LinkedIn) with SocialSafe, all of your content is stored on your own computer in a searchable offline journal. So if the worst happens and you are separated from the original source, at least your own content that you’ve created isn’t out of reach while someone else tries to fix whatever it is that went wrong. Apologies from the SocialSafe Team that we can’t work the same magic with your NatWest account.

To create your own SocialSafe journal today, visit our website or head to our Facebook Page where you can claim a free version to get started.

Hackers Or A Cascading Bug – What Brought Down Twitter?

By now you must all be aware of yesterday’s Twitter outage. The micro-blogging site was unavailable for almost two hours in countries spanning the globe due to two service outages. We first noticed something was wrong here in the SocialSafe office just after 5pm BST, and when some of our Facebook fans responded to our post about the problem we realised it wasn’t just a local glitch.

So what caused the problem? Well, a hacker who calls herself Cosmo from the group UG Nazi – previously affiliated with LulzSec – immediately claimed the she was responsible for the bring down the site via a basic DDoS attack. She said:

“It wasn’t really difficult at all, I myself honestly thought Twitter would be more protected from a DDoS Attack, but I guess not.”

However in a blog post, Mazen Rawashdeh – Twitter’s vice president of engineering – issued an apology and explained that it was a “cascading bug” that caused the outage:

“A cascading bug is one with an effect that isn’t confined to a particular software element, but rather its effect “cascades” into other elements as well. One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today. As soon as we discovered it, we took corrective actions, which included rolling back to a previous stable version of Twitter.”

He also defended Twitter’s previous reliability record over the last six months:

“For the past six months, we’ve enjoyed our highest marks for site reliability and stability ever: at least 99.96% and often 99.99%. In simpler terms, this means that in an average 24-hour period, twitter.com has been stable and available to everyone for roughly 23 hours, 59 minutes and 40-ish seconds.”

We’re you adversely affected by the outage? Or did you backup your Twitter account content with SocialSafe?