United Airlines temporarily grounded all flights, the New York Stock Exchange abruptly halted trading in all securities and the main page of the Wall Street Journal website flashed a 504 error message Wednesday morning. Coincidence, or cyberterrorism?
United was the first to report technical problems, tweeting, “We experienced a network connectivity issue,” at 9:48 a.m. EDT. “We are working to resolve and apologize for any inconvenience.”
Service reportedly resumed shortly after noon.
The New York Stock Exchange followed by shutting down trading in all securities late Wednesday morning. “We’re experiencing a technical issue that we’re working to resolve as quickly as possible,” the NYSE tweeted at 12:09 p.m. EDT. “We’re doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution & will be providing further updates as soon as we can.”
Trading resumed shortly after 3 p.m. after about a four-hour halt, unprecedented in recent years.
The main page of the Wall Street Journal website, meanwhile, read “Oops, 504! Something did not respond fast enough, that’s all we know…” late Wednesday morning before switching to a blank white screen shortly after noon.
United later attributed its problems to “a network connectivity issue,” while the NYSE said its was “an internal technical issue” and “not the result of a cyber breach.”
The three events are not reportedly linked, and an official from the Department of Homeland Security told a Huffington Post reporter there is “no indication” of a cyber attack in any of the three events.
In related news, the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and the Lloyd’s of London insurance market released a report Wednesday morning that outlined a blackout scenario of a cyber attack that could shut down part of the U.S. power grid, leave 93 million people along the eastern seaboard without electricity and cost as much as $1 trillion to the nation’s economy.
“The total impact to the U.S. economy is estimated at $243 billion, rising to more than $1 trillion in the most extreme version of the scenario,” according to the report. The maximum cost would result from damage to infrastructure and business supply chains.