Microsoft battles through two 365 outages in one day

Windows titan blames technical problems while hacktivists claim it woz them wot did it

Updated Microsoft's cloudy productivity services are having an up-and-down day, with two outages making life miserable for users.

At the time of writing, the Outlook email service has been in trouble since 1830 ET (2230 UTC).

An earlier incident took out multiple Microsoft 365 services, including Outlook, Teams, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

The earlier outage started hitting organizations around 1000 ET (1400 UTC), and meant users could not access email or work on other services. At the peak of the problem, around 1200 ET, DownDetector reported 17,000 complaints from people affected by the outage.

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Ahem, ahem...

One user in Miami in the comment section of DownDetector expressed the frustrations of others.

"Outlook down on and off most for the morning," they wrote. "Fine early afternoon EDT, now down again. Really getting in the way of work."

Microsoft said it fixed the technical problem that caused the first outage, by reverting an update to its services.

Redmondian engineers first said on Twitter that they were reviewing the corporation's network labyrinth and recent updates in hopes of detecting the root cause. The software giant later said it had "reverted the update and telemetry shows improvement," and after that reported that the impacted services had recovered. Outage reports dropped sharply after that and for a couple of hours it appeared that everything and returned to normal.

Then came the second glitch, acknowledged by Microsoft at around 1615 ET in a tweet.

Double trouble

Within an hour after acknowledging the second outage, the Microsoft engineers said they were taking a two-pronged approach to the issue.

"We're currently analyzing error patterns to understand what factors are contributing to the issue," they tweeted. "In parallel, we're investigating more immediate actions that can be taken to provide relief to users."

They later said they were implementing changes with the hope of improving the user experience and that they would continue to monitor the situation to see if it "these changes deliver the desired effect."

As of 1830 ET, DownDetector was still showing some outages, with fewer than 2,300 gripes.

While Microsoft has indicated these outages are a mess of its own making, hacktivist group Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for the downtime, and said it did the deed as retaliation for the US government interfering with the internal affairs of the civil war-ravaged African nation.

The potentially-pro-Russian crew stated its claim on its Telegram channel, with messages coinciding with the timing of the first outage. Afterward, the group reportedly said it would again attack Microsoft's services because the company said the problem was technical rather than a cyberattack.

Anonymous Sudan has been active in recent weeks, taking aim at such companies as Swedish airline SAS and nine Danish hospitals with distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks and ransom demands. The group reportedly has also targeted ride-share company Lyft. ®

Updated at 1229 UTC on June 6, 2023, to add

Microsoft reported late Monday night that services were back running as normal, and engineers would continue monitoring the situation while analyzing system logs in hopes of pinpointing the problem.

However, around 9am UTC on Tuesday, Microsoft tweeted that another drop in service availability. Two hours later the company said availability returned to "healthy levels" and it was investigating the cause of the problem and developing "further fixes to provide relief."

DownDetector indicated a peak of fewer than 300 reports of problems this morning.

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