AOL goes down...hard.

  05/10/2001 2:33:33 AM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
  By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO

AOL is down yet again, this time it's global.
  Around the end of March, and in the First week of April, AOL's IM Services went down, 4 times in 2 weeks. Reporting live, just as before, AOL is down, but this time it's global.

  The outage occured at exactly 1:57:24 AM Mountain Daylight Time today on Thursday, May 10th, 2001. I was able to determine the outage is global to AOL and is affecting ALL of AOL's Services, including the AOL member service, the AOL IM Services, and the AOL Web-Sites. Since all of the AOL Web-Sites worldwide originate from the same data center here in the United States, Virginia to be exact, all of America Online/Time Warner's web-sites are down.

  Doing my normal trace as I did before with the AOL IM specific outages, AOL's entire data center is down and unresponsive. This makes the 5th outage in a period of 2 months, and this one is the worse because ALL of AOL world-wide is unaccessible.

  The outage continues now, as I check the atomic time at 2:33:33 AM. This reveals something about AOL's infrastructure that I've known before, it's extremely vulnerable to attack, and has a single point of failure, which has apparently been exercised. Watching as their secondary DNS kicks in, traffic is attempting to be re-routed to another server in the same building proving the source is AOL, not the backbone. AMO.NET and the NeverOffline.NET/COM sites believe it or not travel the same backbone as every hop to AOL.COM, up to maybe the last 2 or 3 hops. It's actually a bit humerous to watch the DNS's swap like they should, only to prove that AOL itself is down, and not their backbone.

  As I continue my traces, I find that the problem at AOL is indeed at their source, or outter most part of their Network, their DNS Server, or the MAIN Router/s on the egde of their network. It is a logical conclusion that AOL is under a massive DOS attack, probably from the Chinese in retaliation for the downed Spy Plane, and their Fighter Plane and it's pilot. The Chinese have already attacked several other US sites, but merely temporarily defaced them, and didn't bring them down entirely.

  The previous AOL IM specific outages were explained by AOL as not related, and the one on April 5th was explained as the "direct result of a regional power failure...". I gave my own explanation, and you cannot deny the rare closeness in time periods between the AOL IM outages, and the fact that AOL only explained 1 of them, not the previous 3. I do think this global one here is malicious and probably an attack from the Chinese.

  It looks like this report will have 1, 2, or maybe 5 follow-ups, but I'll keep you posted. I like being the first to report on these issues globally. BIG SMILE

  1st Follow-up: 3:35:29 AM MDT
   Continued further traces throughout AOL's Network.
   Spoke with technicians in Canada, confirmed AOL was slowly coming back up.
   Confirmed AOL switched backbones from BBN to ALTER at around 3:15 AM
   Confirmed AOL switched backbones through BBN to ATDN at around 3:15 AM
   3:20 AM Spoke with AOL; overwhemling calls crashed the AOL support number.
   Confirmed AOL switched support numbers due to call volume.
   AOL confirmed problems, but was hesitant to admit the cause.
   ME "Did you just start your shift, what does your screen say?"
   AOL - "Thursday is maintainence day, from 3-6 am EST"
   ME - "Ok that doesn't explain all systems being down for an hour and a half with ongoing outages still present."
   AOL - "No, I just got here, but we're also having problems with our internal systems."
   ME - "That's interesting, but I already knew that, I'm sure you'll have a press release explaining this later today."

  3:45:27 AM MDT
  Most of the AOL Network is still down, the web-sites are still unresponsive 40% of the time. The AOL Member service is up and down sporatically, an indication of an ongoing attack, not maintainence. AOL's IM Services are also sporatic and unresponsive 40% of the time indicating an ongoing response from AOL to defend against the attacks. I'll wait for the morning news to flow, and report AOL's press release to you giving you their official response in writing.

  The AOL Network was restored and brought back to full functionality about 12 hours later. To Date, AOL has not commented on this, and neither has any other new sources. This outage because of the time in which it happened was not reported, except by myself. I stand by my theory that they were attacked by the Chinese, and for that reason you may be able to understand why it has not been reported on.

  Related AMO Articles:
   AOL IM Service is down, twice this week!
   AOL IM Service is down, AGAIN!
   AOL IM Service is down!