AWS Outage Knocks S3 Storage, Many Web Sites Offline

Here are your top news stories from eWEEK. Today's topics include the Amazon Web Services outage that caused major service disruptions across the internet, the ambitious plan to send two tourists to the moon by 2018, the finding that Microsoft has yet to fix several security flaws in its latest update and Mozilla’s acquisition of Pocket developer Read It Later.

The world's largest and busiest cloud infrastructure provider, Amazon Web Services, was hit by a widespread service interruption Feb. 28 at its northern Virginia data center that took down much of the company's S3 storage and a long list of services with it for several hours.

"We are investigating increased error rates for Amazon S3 requests in the US-EAST-1 Region," AWS said on its status page. AWS issued a notice at 2:08 p.m. Pacific time on February 28 that the issues had been resolved and that AWS is “fully recovered for operations for adding new objects in S3 ... and that Amazon S3 service is operating normally."

SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Feb. 27 an ambitious plan to launch a mission that would carry two paying tourists on a trip around the moon in 2018.

A similar NASA mission, using the long-awaited Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft, is in the planning stages for 2019, according to a February 15 announcement. The SpaceX lunar mission will use the company’s new Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

This rocket can lift more than twice the weight of the Space Shuttle launch system into low earth orbit. The Falcon Heavy's lift capacity is 54 metric tons, which is enough to put a fully-loaded Boeing 737 with passengers, luggage and fuel into orbit.

For the second time in as many weekends, Google released details of a security issue in Microsoft’s software, which the Windows producer failed to patch after postponing the release of a regularly scheduled update on Feb. 14.

Google—which funds a group of researchers, known as Project Zero—publishes details of security flaws after giving the software vendors 90 days or less to fix the issues. Both of the vulnerabilities in Microsoft software were found last November, with their details scheduled to be disclosed in February.

Microsoft typically releases software updates on the second Tuesday of each month, but scrapped plans for a February update when it detected an unspecified issue with the fixes.

On Feb. 27, Mozilla announced its first ever acquisition—Read It Later Inc., which is best known for its Pocket technology that enables users to save, share and discover online links.

Although Mozilla isn’t disclosing details of this deal due to confidentiality reasons, Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Chief Business and Legal Officer at Mozilla, told eWEEK, that "all members of the Pocket team are joining Mozilla."

She noted that no changes to the Pocket service or development roadmap are currently planned. Read It Later claims that it has over 10 million active monthly registered users that use the Pocket service, which enables users to read saved links later.