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Typo Takes Out Internet for Swedes

Monday night, all of Sweden lost access to the Internet, thanks to a problem that arose during routine maintenance of the country's top-level domain, .se (like .com or .us in the U.S.).

The root of the issue was an improperly configured script (or set of commands) used to update the .se zone. When Sweden's Internet Infrastructure Foundation investigated the cause, it found that the error in the configuration was a simple typo; someone had left a period off the end of a DNS record. DNS is the system responsible for turning Web names like into a machine-readable IP address.

Thanks to this missing period, Sweden's entire DNS-lookup system failed, taking all .se sites offline and preventing residents from accessing the Web. The error in the script was found and fixed within an hour, but it took nearly 24 hours for the update to trickle throughout the country's network. This is due to the fact that DNS information is often cached locally and only updated periodically by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The whole episode just serves as a reminder of how fragile our Internet ecosystem is. This little dot -- . -- took out an entire country's Web connection. Imagine what a larger typo or concentrated cyber-attack could do. It also puts our list of "expensive" typos in context. Who cares about a few thousand dollars when there's no Internet on which to spend it? [From: CNET and Betanews]

Tags: dns, fail, internet, sweden, top



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