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Americans Know Very Little about Amazon Web Services that Knocked Out Large Swaths of East Coast Internet Services on December 7

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Jeffrey Bezos

Jeffrey Bezos

FINRA is Wall Street’s self-regulator. Last Tuesday afternoon, December 7, we attempted to access the part of its website that houses data on Wall Street’s Dark Pools. The web page was there but the data wouldn’t open. We contacted FINRA via email and asked what the problem was. We were told that it was “a result of today’s Amazon Web Services issue.”

Our problem at FINRA’s website was just the tip of the iceberg last Tuesday. As a result of problems at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud-service network, customers couldn’t get through to Delta Air Lines on its AWS-supported phone lines; the Associated Press was limited in what it could publish for much of the day; Barron’s reported it was negatively impacted; apps for McDonald’s and Ticketmaster and streaming services from Disney and Netflix were also knocked offline. Amazon delivery drivers couldn’t access the necessary information to deliver packages and some Amazon warehouses couldn’t process orders. The outages also negatively impacted other Amazon services, such as the Alexa voice assistant, Kindle, Amazon Music, Amazon’s video conferencing service Chime, and its Ring security cameras.

But the outages that were reported by the media last Tuesday, which were concentrated on the East Coast of the U.S. from late morning to most of the afternoon, were likely just the tip of the iceberg. According to a report by John Cave at Contino on January 28, 2020, the following companies and government agencies were then on record as using AWS:

“Aon, Adobe, Airbnb, Alcatel-Lucent, AOL, Acquia, AdRoll, AEG, Alert Logic, Autodesk, Bitdefender, BMW, British Gas, Baidu, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Canon, Capital One, Channel 4, Chef, Citrix, Coinbase, Comcast, Coursera, Disney, Docker, Dow Jones, European Space Agency, ESPN, Expedia, Financial Times, FINRA, General Electric, GoSquared, Guardian News & Media, Harvard Medical School, Hearst Corporation, Hitachi, HTC, IMDb, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, International Civil Aviation Organization, ITV, iZettle, Johnson & Johnson, JustGiving, JWT, Kaplan, Kellogg’s, Lamborghini, Lonely Planet, Lyft, Made.com, McDonalds, NASA, NASDAQ OMX, National Rail Enquiries, National Trust, Netflix, News International, News UK, Nokia, Nordstrom, Novartis, Pfizer, Philips, Pinterest, Quantas, Reddit, Sage, Samsung, SAP, Schneider Electric, Scribd, Securitas Direct, Siemens, Slack, Sony, SoundCloud, Spotify, Square Enix, Tata Motors, The Weather Company, Twitch, Turner Broadcasting, Ticketmaster, Time Inc., Trainline, Ubisoft, UCAS, Unilever, US Department of State, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, UK Ministry of Justice, Vodafone Italy, WeTransfer, WIX, Xiaomi, Yelp, Zynga and Zillow.”

Amazon Web Services describes itself as follows: “…the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers — including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies — are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster.”



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