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Latest Lead Second caused failure in over two thousand networks worldwide

Eurotux’s experts kept track with the passing of yet another extra second, to guarantee the proper functioning of its systems and resolve eventual problems.
Published on 2015-07-31

The Lead Second is the one second adjustment that is carried out to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a standard used to measure civil time, which resorts to extremely precise atomic clocks. This adjustment is done to synchronize atomic clocks atomic clocks with the Earth’s rotation, which is slowing down, maintaining the UTC closer to solar time.

Most information technology systems obtain date and time information through the NTP protocol (Network Time Protocol), which uses the time registered by standard UTC. Some systems may not be prepared to deal with an extra second, generating problem such as downtime, errors, crashes, CPU freezes or even spontaneous reboots.

In 2012, the Leap Second was responsible for leaving Reddit, LinkedIn and Foursquare, among others, unavailable. One of the more notable cases was the Australian airline, Quantas, where its system’s downtime caused the delay in over 400 flights.

According to the company that analyses online service performance, this event causes sporadic failures in over 2000 networks worldwide. The services of Amazon, Beats1 (Apple), Netflix, Instagram and Twitter, also had problems and some of them were unavailable for 40 minutes.

At Eurotux, a team was deployed to deal with the Leap Second, making the necessary updates and being on general alert for eventual incidents provoked by the event. In general, systems were stable and available. Those operating with older versions of software – and that caused a few problems – were rapidly updated and put back into service.

Since 1972, the year in which the time correction system was implemented, 26 Leap Second have already been added.

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