Because of one faulty NIC, 17,000 were stranded at LAX

The U.S. Customs computer outage that left nearly 20,000 international flyers stranded on the tarmac for hours last weekend? That whole sprawling mess — so bad, some people got sick and had to be taken to the hospital — was caused by a single screwy network interface card on one single desktop computer in LAX international terminal. Snip from LAT story:

The card, which allows computers to connect to a local area network, experienced a partial failure that started about 12:50 p.m. Saturday, slowing down the system, said Jennifer Connors, a chief in the office of field operations for the Customs and Border Protection agency.

As data overloaded the system, a domino effect occurred with other computer network cards, eventually causing a total system failure a little after 2 p.m., Connors said.

"All indications are there was no hacking, no tampering, no terrorist link, nothing like that," she said. "It was an internal problem" contained to the Los Angeles International Airport system.

Whew. For a minute there, I was thinking this could be the work of Anonymous!

Link to LA Times story.

Previously on BB:

  • Flyers stuck at LA airport after computer screening system fails