“Technical Difficulties”: United Airlines Grounded, NYSE Halted, What’s Next?

[graphic: WSJ.com's July 8th error message]

[graphic: WSJ.com’s July 8th error message]

This is a working post for discussion of today’s outages. United Airlines grounded its flights for roughly two hours this morning; the FAA’s advisory indicated an automation-related issue, and subsequent communications from United said it was a “network connectivity” problem.

UAL also briefly grounded flights on June 2nd, due to “automation issues.”

Now the New York Stock Exchange has halted all trading shortly before noon, cancelling all open orders, due to “technical difficulties.”

There are reports that CNBC and WSJ websites are down, but they could simply be swamped by traffic.

Who’s or what’s next?

UPDATE — 12:55 pm EDT —

Looks like CNBC may only have had a brief burp due to high traffic as there are no further complaints about service interruption. WSJ’s website has been slowly working its way back to normal service; the media outlet posted an abbreviated versionfor 15-20 minutes once its technical problems had been resolved. No indication yet that anything apart from high traffic volume may have spiked the site.

UPDATE — 1:35 pm EDT —

You know what cracks me up, in a ha-ha-ouch kind of way? FBI Director Jim Comey puling about the need for back doors into technology in front of Congress today, while a major airline and the most important stock market in the world demonstrate exactly how ugly it could get if hackers with malicious intent used the back doors he demands for evil rather than good. The “technical difficulties” both UAL and NYSE experienced today could be duplicated by hackers using back doors.

The U.S. Government is an aircraft carrier, very slow to turn even when under fire. Hackers are speedboats. Asking for back doors across all technology while facing myriad fleet-footed nemesis is like chasing 38-foot Cigarette Top Gun speedboats with a carrier. Unless the carrier can see Cigarettes coming from a distance and train gun on them, Cigarettes will fly up its backside. The U.S. Government has already proven it can’t see very far ahead, stuck in a defensive posture while using its offense in ways that only ensure more attacks.

UPDATE — 2:20 pm EDT —

Fortune reports the NYSE halt was due to a “failed systems upgrade.”

Right. Upgrade. Let’s roll out an upgrade in the middle of the week, in the middle of the month, when both China’s stock market and Europe’s banksters are freaking out. Let’s not manage traders expectations in advance of the day’s trading, either.

Somebody needs to retake a course in Change Management 101 — or there’s some additional explaining required.

Reuters assures us, too:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there were no signs” that the problems at NYSE and United Airlines stemmed from “malicious activity,” CNN reported.

Good to know, huh? Can’t believe they went to CNN for that.

UPDATE — 3:30 pm EDT —

The buzz since 2:00-ish pm is that Anonymous *might* be to blame for the NYSE “glitch.” The Hill, Salon, and a few other outlets reported about a cryptic tweet from @YourAnonNews late last evening:

Untitled

But another Anonymous affiliate laughed it off, saying:

NYSE_TechGlitches_Tweet_237PM_08JUL2015

Timing is incredible, though; the NYSE, WSJ, and UAL outages all happened concurrent with a Congressional hearing at which FBI Director Jim Comey discussed the need for back doors into everything. What an incredible series of coincidences today.

UPDATE — 3:55 pm EDT —

Best take by far on today’s NYSE “technical difficulties”, gonzo reporting with a feminine touch from Molly Crabapple:

I was met by fires in the streets, the screams of the dying tourists and the shouts of former traders offering sacrifices to their new gods

UPDATE — 5:00 pm EDT —

NYSE re-opened again around 3:00 pm EDT, with trading a bit jittery. Financial news outlets speculated the market closed at 17,515.42, down -261.49 (-1.47%) due to concerns over China’s tanked stock market and Greece’s EU debt woes. The Shanghai market had closed the previous day at 3,507.19 down -219.93 (-5.90%).

Feeling iffy over the Shanghai index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 23,516.56 down -1,458.75 (-5.84%); Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed at 19,737.64 down -638.95 (-3.14%).

But these Asian markets weren’t affected by the NYSE’s technical difficulties today. Wonder how they will open on July 9th their local time — flat or down? I wouldn’t put my money on an uptick, but I’m not a financial adviser, either.

I imagine the bars and pubs around Wall Street saw greater-than-average action. I might put money on that.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
15 replies
  1. scribe says:

    My computer’s working fine!
    .
    And if the MOTUs and banksters lose a few coins b/c they can’t trade, trade, trade, tough shit.

    • Rayne says:

      The NYSE, sadly, isn’t just the province of the MOTUs. My kids’ college fund consists of a number of stocks traded on the NYSE, as are my IRAs. Ditto funds for pensioners — like CalPers — just the life savings of working stiffs, you know?

      What I resent is the fact the MOTUs and their deep state apparatus could use markets as their battlefield, blithely ignoring its existence as an economic commons for use by all manner of persons who aren’t MOTUs.

  2. galljdaj says:

    Jusr war games! practice! and scare the people so they accept austerity rather than demand the elites pay their fair share, and that the politician start protecting the Peoples, all of them not just the 1%.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    The latest research on why we don’t sleep enough indicates that “blue light” frequencies emanating from video displays (TV, PC, etc.) affects our minds so that it keeps us up. So, read a book., and don’t read these computer things before bed. (Sorry, host.)

    • Rayne says:

      I’m still trying to wrap my head about HT and the damage they’ve done. I’ve read a lot about the hack, but modeling out what dominoes fall next is challenging. I don’t know that some of the urgency driving Jim Comey’s demands for back doors today isn’t due in no small part to the loss of HT as a means for surveillance.

      Not certain if Marcy will write about this, but I think I’ll continue to monitor this rather than write about it. Plenty of other folks have been all over it. Thanks for asking, though.

  4. scribe says:

    If they aren’t trading, your stuff isn’t losing value.
    .
    Moreover, that same deep state control you (rightly) decry pretty much guarantees market participants won’t get hurt too, too badly. The deep state and MOTU boys will protect their own piles, and you’ll get to ride along on their coattails.

    • Rayne says:

      No, not losing value YET, but the outage could result in depressed values. AND small investors simply can’t do what they might want to do, when they want or need to do it. This is lost opportunity cost.

      The MOTUs already proved back in 2008 they don’t give a flying fuck about small investors — most obviously anybody invested in real estate, like family homes, and secondly anybody with 401Ks or IRAs invested in the market.

      One of the reasons we’ve had problems with employment of youth and new grads is that older employees deferred retirement in order to replace losses they suffered in 2008-on, post crash. Those folks were not made whole, weren’t able to ride any coattails you think the MOTUs offered. I know, because I was smart enough to exit the market just before Bear Stearns crashed, only lost 25% of my retirement funds, and was able to make it up with investments in a couple key tech stocks. But the average older individual investor got hammered badly, and they’re still smarting.

      In the mean time FBI’s Jim Comey wants to expose these individual investors or pension funds to even more risk, while the White House and Congress continue to ignore the enormous unresolved risks exposed during the 2008 crash — the continued reliance on unregulated financial vehicles combined with technology unavailable to anyone but the MOTUs and deep state.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, CTut, I think I was already chasing the Salon take on that when you posted your comment. See my update 3:30pm update.

  5. What Constitution? says:

    Not yet ready to presume “hack” or organized attack. Stupidity compounded by hubris and spread over broad expanses of cluelessness just seems so much more likely. Especially with these industries.

    • Rayne says:

      If either NYSE or UAL “technical difficulties” were due to a hack, I would not be one lick surprised. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if these were simply outages due to failure — but these kinds of failures are fuck-ups of a magnitude beyond acceptable. It means neither NYSE or UAL have adequate fail-over business continuity systems in place.

      If UAL failed because of a single router, jeebus. I can’t tell you how incredibly stupid that is. Boggles my mind.

      And if NYSE crashed because of a failed system upgrade as indicated this morning, some IT people and business managers need to be taken out and shot at dawn with marshmallows before that bronze bull, guilty of incredible stupidity.

      Frankly, a cyber attack would make either situation and the guilty parties look a lot better.

    • Rayne says:

      Nah. Not cheap enough for me. A stock I’m watching is still too pricey; even though analysts say it’s ripe for a tumble its price still hasn’t fallen.

  6. JohnT says:

    Off topic
    .
    There was a pretty good article in Bloomberg about a week ago that implies why there have been so many incidents of police brutality, and deaths at the hands of the police — it’s because they’re being trained in

    … a “warrior” mentality for police, likening cops to soldiers and focusing on conflict, vigilance, and martial skills.

    And the trainers have a dangerous ‘us against them’ attitude towards people they consider threats, like reporters

    Before proceeding, Glennon points to a threat in the back of the room: me. … If my article screws them, he tells the class with a smile, “I’ll fly out to Seattle”—where I live—“and kill him.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-01/the-policeman-s-id
    .
    I’ve been doing a series on this, just because it’s been so in our face, you cant avoid it. And one stat that has jumped out at me is that, at least, at a minimum, conservatively speaking, there have been 5,600 people who have died at the hands of police since the year 2000. Look at this graphic
    .
    https://sierracynic.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/screenshot_2015-04-20-12-44-29.png
    .
    And if anyone’s interested, and wants to find where I got that number, click my name and scroll down

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