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Asus fixes mass router outage

On Wednesday, Asus router users around the world took to the Internet to report that their devices suddenly froze up for no apparent reason and then, upon rebooting repeatedly, stopped working every few minutes as device memory became exhausted.

Two days later, the Taiwan-based hardware maker has finally answered the calls for help. The mass outage, the company said, was the result of “an error in the configuration of our server settings file.” After fixing the glitch, most users needed to only reboot their devices. In the event that didn’t fix the problem, the company’s support team advised users to save their current configuration settings and perform a factory reset. The company also apologized.

It was a frustrating two days for many users as they attempted to troubleshoot the outage. Asus’ silence during that time only added to the frustration.

“This is a bunch of BS. Why doesn’t Asus put out some kind of statement explaining what’s going on?” one user complained.

Asus still hasn’t provided details about the configuration error. Various users have offered explanations online that appear to be correct.

“On the 16th, Asus pushed a corrupted definition file for ASD, a built-in security daemon present in a wide range of their routers,” one person wrote. “As routers automatically updated and fetched the corrupted definition file, they started running out of filesystem space and memory and crashing.”

The explanation answered the question of what was causing routers to crash, but it raised a new one: Why were routers affected even when they had been configured to not automatically update and no manual update had been performed? Asus has yet to address this, but the likely answer is that the definitions file for ASD, which resides in memory and scans devices for security threats, gets updated whether or not automatic updates are enabled.

The long and short of things is that the 48-hour mystery surrounding the malfunctioning Asus routers has now been solved and a fix is in place. We now return you to your normally scheduled Internet usage. ars technica

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