Telecom NZ emulates Microsoft's DNS gaffe

Telecom New Zealand Ltd. Wednesday suffered the same fate as Microsoft Corp. did recently, losing its web presence and some customer services for much of the day because of problems with its DNS servers.

Telecom's corporate website, from which the company runs a range of customer services, and all those using domains listed on its two main DNS servers, and, were unavailable because both nameservers -- which, like Microsoft's, are both on the same subnet -- were not responding to queries.

The DNS outage will probably also have interfered with email use within Telecom, and virtual private network services and monitoring scripts that operate over the internet. It could prove to be an expensive error.

Telecom spokesperson Anna Hughes said late Wednesday that EDS Corp., to which Telecom outsources its IT management, was working on the problem but could offer no explanation for the outage.

There were suggestions on a local mailing list that the system administrators had performed a software upgrade on the servers without backing up their zone files. It appeared that information on the servers was being changed on the fly Wednesday afternoon.

Service was restored at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, but Telecom's website still does not appear to be in perfect order. Customers who try to use the site to order 0800 words numbers have to do so without security because of problem's with the site's digital certificate.

Telecom's DNS problems are unrelated to the periodic unavailability of major US sites - such as, and - to customers of Xtra and other ISPs using Telecom's Global Gateway international IP service. Xtra spokesperson Mary Parker says the problem is with an upstream provider used by Global Gateway in the US.

Story courtesy Computerworld New Zealand

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