The internet failed worldwide last week, because of ?human error? at InterNIC, the body responsible for distributing internet addresses.
The organisation claimed that a data entry mistake wiped the server on which the registry of addresses ending in .com or .net ? the most commonly used domain names ? is held, causing thousands of emails to be bounced, delayed or misrouted.
This was the second serious error by InterNIC in a week, escalating the controversy surrounding its monopoly role.
The problem occurred on Wednesday night and sent the Net into chaos throughout Thursday, with internet service providers outraged at the problems caused for their customers. ?This is the worst outage I can remember,? said one source at PSInet.
The error led to the root server assigning incorrect IP addresses when it received user requests for URLs ending in .com or .net.
Although InterNIC?s parent, Network Solutions, said the database has now been reloaded, there may still be mistaken files circulating on the Net.
Because the address book of URLs ending in .co.uk is kept on a separate UK-based server, UK ISPs and the sites they host were less affected than their US counterparts.
The incident came only days after InterNIC blamed a data entry error for another problem, when it accidentally deleted the domain name of a Web hosting company, Webcom.
The two occurrences seem to lend weight to the recent criticism of some observers that InterNIC cannot cope with the booming number of domain name registrations.
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