Major internet outage hits New Zealand, DDoS attack blamed by Vocus

A major internet outage hit New Zealand on Friday afternoon, impacting both national and international traffic.

Vocus, an international telecom company which operates the Orcon and Slingshot brands, confirmed the outage was due to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and apologised.

"This afternoon our network was impacted by a DDoS attack. This will have affected a range of Vocus customers for approximately 30 minutes," the company wrote.

"This was not great timing with most of the country working from home, and we’d like to apologise for the interruption.

"Our engineers were able to resolve the problem quickly, and customers should have come back online automatically."

A DDoS attack is an attempt to disrupt internet access, caused typically by the overloading of the target resource. Generally perpetrators flood the attack victim from many different sources making it impossible to stop quickly.

Users across Aotearoa reported problems accessing sites on DownDetector, with major ISPs all showing a massive spike in connection problems. Sky TV was also impacted.

Access to major international websites was also impacted with Twitch, the PlayStation Network, Discord and Microsoft's Office 365 suite of applications all having issues.

Others reported problems paying at the supermarket, with television presenter Matt Gibb one of those impacted.

"No Apple Pay or payWave at the supermarket I’m at right now due to this internet outage. Take your physical card with you."

Internet service provider Orcon tweeted they were having "network issues affecting broadband connections and our website.

"We're investigating urgently, and will share more news as soon as we can. Our apologies for the disruption."

"Our call centre is also affected. No estimated restoration time is available at the moment. We will provide updates as soon as we can," it tweeted.

Internet was restored around 2.10pm, with DownDetector showing a massive drop off in outage reports.