Italy seeks clarification and prompt solution to massive email outage

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s government has sought clarification about an outage that has been affecting nine million users of Internet provider Italiaonline’s webmail services since January 23, it said on Wednesday.

Responding to a Reuters query, Italiaonline said it had no evidence at this time that its problems were in any way related to those suffered by millions of Microsoft users on Wednesday.

Undersecretary Alessio Butti, who is in charge of technological innovation, said in a statement that he had asked Italiaonline for details and to protect user data while he quickly sought a solution to the problem affecting popular email services Libero and Virgil.

“We expected to restore the use of Libero Mail and Virgilio Mail within the next 24/48 hours,” Italiaonline said in a statement.

Chief Technology Officer Diego Rizzi on Tuesday ruled out an external cyberattack, saying the company had been working tirelessly to resolve “an unforeseen infrastructure issue.”

Italiaonline, Italy’s largest internet company and owned by the Egyptian Sawiris family, said on Wednesday that the problem was related to a bug in the operating system of newly introduced storage technology provided by a vendor, which it did not identify.

“Since it is an operating system bug, it takes time to develop a technical solution, with the main goal of protecting data integrity,” Italiaonline said.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it had brought back all of its cloud services after a network outage brought down its Azure cloud platform along with services like Teams and Outlook used by millions around the world.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Valentina Za, Kirsten Donovan)

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