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Here’s What Happened to Your Square Service Last Week

Digital payment platform seemed to vanish from the internet Thursday afternoon into Friday morning because, basically, it did.

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If your business uses the digital payment platform Square then, no doubt, last Thursday was a challenging day.

Square experienced a disruption of service last week that left millions of businesses that rely on its service high and dry. The Fintech giant did not say how many of its more than 60 million customers were affected by the disruption. The Block-owned company only said that it serves “millions” of users.

The issue arose around noon Thursday on the Pacific Coast and lasted into Friday morning. Square posted updates and condolences on its social media accounts during the outage. However, in the meantime, users were usable to access their accounts or process credit card payments.

The Jack Dorsey co-founded company stated in a social media post Thursday: “We are currently experiencing issues with multiple Square services. We understand how important it is for your business that our services be up and running, and we are actively working toward a fix.”

The company published several updates Thursday at issquareup.com, alerting users of problems associated with “a disruption with one of our Data Centers.” Among the areas affected were balance and transfers.

“We realize that this disruption is impacting many businesses at the moment,” the company  “We’ve got the right people on this and we’re fully committed to resolving the problem as soon as we can.”

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Turns out that “the right people” might have been the ones who caused the issue.

Square reports that the outage was caused by a domain name system (DNS) issue. So the good news is that it wasn’t a cyberattack. The not so good news is that it seems the problem was created by internal user error.

For a clear explanation of the situation, we turn to the computer people at techcrunch.com:

“DNS, or domain name system, is the global protocol that converts human-readable web addresses into IP addresses, which allow computers to find and load websites from all over the world.

But if a company’s DNS settings are misconfigured or incorrectly changed, at worst it can cause the entire company to appear as if it’s dropped off the internet. That’s what happened with Square.”

In a blog post on last week’s outage, Square had this to share:

“The outage impacted an important part of our infrastructure, known as a Domain Name System, or DNS. While making several standard changes to our internal network software, the combination of updates prevented our systems from properly communicating with each other, and ultimately caused the disruption. The issue also affected many of our internal tools for troubleshooting and support, making them temporarily unavailable. There is no evidence that this was a cybersecurity event or that any seller or buyer data was compromised by the outage.”

You can read the full blog post here.

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