Australia internet outage: 15,000 major news and government websites affected by .au error

More than 15,000 Australian websites, including major news sites and government department pages, were taken offline by a major outage on Tuesday.

An error in the Domain Name System, often referred to as the phonebook of the internet, blocked people reaching some .au websites, with the exact cause of the problem under investigation.

Users reported being unable to access a wide variety of websites in Australia from about 4.30pm AEDT, including those run by News Corp and Nine, the AFL, the Victorian parliament and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The issue appeared to be intermittent, with some users able to access sites others were unable to. Some appeared to be working on mobile but not on desktop.

Cisco Umbrella reported issues in attempting to reach .au websites.

Guardian Australia understands the outage affected more than 15,000 .au websites. For context, there are 3.4m .au domain names registered. The issue is believed to have been associated with an incorrect change made in the Domain Name System that caused people to not be able to reach the .au websites.

The outage lasted approximately an hour before websites were brought back online.

A spokesperson for auDA, the organisation that manages the .au domain, confirmed the issue but could not pinpoint the problem as auDA was still investigating the cause.

“We regret that a small number of domains were affected but are pleased to report the .au is back up and operating,” the spokesperson said. “An investigation as to the cause of this issue is under way.”

The outage occured less than two days before the launch of the .au top level domain, where people will be able to buy .au domains without the .com, .org or .net in the address for the first time.

It was not clear whether the upcoming launch of .au was related to the outage.

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