Square payment outage caused by DNS failure

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Square’s payment terminals went offline for 14 hours last week due to a DNS failure, not a cyberattack, the company said.

The outage affected businesses across the U.S., U.K., and beyond that relied on Square’s point-of-sale systems. Restaurants, cafes, and shops were left asking punters to pay by cash or use another method like Venmo to transfer money to cover bills.

Some owners complained of losing thousands of dollars as the IT meltdown continued from Thursday into Friday. CashApp was also affected by the outage.

Square blamed the outage on updates to its network infrastructure that broke its DNS, which is the system that translates human-readable website addresses into IP addresses.

“The outage impacted an important part of our infrastructure, known as a Domain Name System, or DNS,” Square explained in a blog post. “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.”

Square said it has made changes to its DNS and firewall servers to “protect against the issue we saw,” and has taken other defensive steps. The company is also working on expanding the availability of what’s called Offline Mode to all new Square payment terminals as well as most ones out in the field already. This mode allows a terminal to queue up transactions for processing later while backend systems are down or can’t otherwise be reached.

Square apologized for the outage and said it is committed to improving its communication about downtime.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.

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