Can't get infected via email if your messages aren't delivered: Seven-hour slowdown hits Symantec cloud filters

Wondering why your inbox was so clear? Bad news…

letters stuffed in a mailbox. Photo by SHutterstock

Symantec is working to restore its Email Security.cloud service following a major slowdown that has lasted throughout the US morning and into the afternoon.

The security software giant said unspecified gremlins knackered its cloud-hosted email filtering service, resulting in email flows slowing to a trickle for customers in North America and EMEA. Those who were able to reach the service may have experienced a backlog of emails all arriving at once.

By 1300 Pacific time, Symantec said it had added additional "processing capacity" to help get the enterprise mail filtering service back online.

"Existing queued emails continue to be delivered but at a reduced rate. In the meantime, our engineers continue to manually load balance email traffic and have taken impacted infrastructure out of service where possible," a Symantec system status update read.

"Some customers may continue to experience delays sending or receiving emails."

The incident began at around 0615 PDT, or 1215 UTC, when Symantec said it had begun fielding reports from North America and EMEA customers that their emails were not being sent or received in a timely matter.

An hour later, Symantec reported its engineers had identified and begun to mitigate the issue, but email service remained slowed. The company noted that no other services, including the threat monitoring part of the security offering, were being affected. So the emails were being scanned and cleaned, they were just slow to be delivered.

About four hours after first reporting the issue, the service was beginning to speed up a bit, though significant delays remained. At five hours, the emails that had been backlogged in the queue were finally ready to start delivery.

Now, roughly seven hours after the outage began, Symantec says it is still working to get everything up to speed, and Register readers report they are still having problems sending and receiving mail.

The company did not respond to a Reg request for comment on what caused the issue or when it might be fully resolved.

Gobbled up in the MessageLabs acquisition of 2008, the Symantec.cloud email service is pitched as an additional layer of mail filtering and security that sits outside of the network firewall, allowing for emails to be scanned and cleaned before they even reach the customer's on-prem systems.

This is an ongoing story, and we will provide updates as warranted. ®

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