Turkish Bank's System Down for Over 24 Hours, Possibly One of the Longest in the Industry

The outage is "due to technical issues in the bank's main computer."
Derya Ozdemir

Akbank, Turkey’s seventh-biggest bank and fourth-largest private lender by assets, has been out of service since early July 6, Tuesday, leaving its clients unable to access their accounts, according to Daily Sabah.

Akbank has 5.7 million digital clients, according to its website, and as of Wednesday noon, customers are still unable to make transactions or use the bank's digital banking system. Some claimed that ATMs and POS devices were also unavailable.

The bank issued a public apology on Wednesday morning, stating that the outage was due to technical issues in the bank's main computer in a statement shared on Twitter.

"The outages stemming from technical issues in our bank's main computer are ongoing. Efforts to solve the issue are ongoing. Our customers can access the precautions we adopted from our website," Akbank wrote.

Customers affected by the outage voiced their dissatisfaction over social media, with many fearing a cyberattack that could jeopardize their assets and information. Akbank was previously targeted in December 2016, when hackers used the SWIFT global money transfer system to target the bank.

Akbank dismissed the speculations, saying, "The news that the slowdown and interruptions in our bank's systems are due to cyber-attacks do not reflect the truth. There are no security breaches. Our related units are working to solve the problem."

Six hours after their first update, Akbank issued another statement afternoon, saying they are continuing their intensive efforts to "eliminate the interruptions in our services. We aim to put our systems into operation gradually in the coming hours. We will continue to share the latest developments."

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The Akbank outage comes following two other widespread global content delivery network failures in June. On June 17, a problem with service provider Akamai Technologies caused outages for global airlines, banks, and stock exchanges, mostly in Australia. According to Akamai, the service outage was caused by a routing table issue -- not a cyberattack.

Nine days before, a service configuration issue at content delivery cloud provider Fastly caused a global internet outage that impacted Reddit, Twitch, U.K. government websites, and a number of news sites including CNN and The New York Times. 

Such massive IT failures affect banks on a whole other level since the stakes are so high. As banking activities move from brick-and-mortar to online, these are having an even greater impact on customers. While the reason behind Akbank's outage is unknown as of now, new apps being used with old infrastructure could be one of the culprits.

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