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Cock-up not crackers behind web site outage, say MS

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Microsoft has confirmed that problems with its domain name servers were behind the outage of all its main Web sites today, and said that the problem had been fixed making the sites available.

From the early hours of this morning until late afternoon www.microsoft.com, msn.com, expedia.co.uk and msnbc.com were all unavailable. The software giant's Hotmail service was also unavailable.

A company spokeswoman said the sites were now available and confirmed the diagnosis supplied by Register readers, that domain name server problems were responsible for the blackout, was correct.

"Temporary problems with domain name servers, which were not responding to requests, were responsible for this problem, not security issues. Microsoft has not
been subject to a denial of service attack," she said.

The root cause of the outage is yet to be properly explained but early analysis of the situation points to human stupidity rather than hostile hacker action as been behind the whole debacle. Microsoft initially dismissed speculation that weekend problem with DNS servers that made Microsoft's site unavailable for some are related to its problems today, but this is now considered a strong possibility.

After we ran our initial story on the Great Satan of Software's Web Site blackout, Register readers quickly diagnosed that Microsoft's domain name servers were out of commission. Its four domain name servers were are all running, but none are able to locate where www.microsoft.com is.

Another reader pointed that, according to the whois database, both microsoft.com and msn.net rely on the name servers at xxx.msft.net

He said that Microsoft has all it's name servers in one subnet, and that this subnet was either down or unreachable.

Cotse.com, a specialist Web site for computer technicians, said that use of only one subnet broke one of the 'golden rules' of network engineering and meant Microsoft was effectively putting "all its eggs in one basket".

Throughout the whole debacle Microsoft's Web server itself was NOT down and is accessible here or here, and weirdly via microsoft.com. ®

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