jQuery is easily one of the most prolific Java scripts in use on the Internet today. It also happens to be part of Google’s collection of scripts used by web developers all over the world. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Internet sites making use of jQuery suffered outages for several hours on January 4 2012, due to an apparent conflict between OpenDNS and the SSL certificates used by Google.
The problem was discovered when Internet users loaded their favourite pages only to be greeted with a standard phishing warning. The warning stated that the site in question had been blocked because of suspected phishing activity which seeks to encourage users to enter personal information that will eventually be used for fraudulent purposes. Some users got a typical “404 file not found” message as well.
The culprit appears to be Google developers who changed something in regards to the googleapi.com security certificates. Whatever those changes were caused a conflict that triggered the OpenDNS security measures. In order to get back online, many of the sites employed fallback scripts that redirected websites to Microsoft-based content delivery networks. Some of the more prominent site owners have even gone so far as to make their fallback scripts a permanent part of their code in order to prevent future outages.
There’s been no word yet from Google on any response they may have to the outages. Fortunately, for most sites the outage only lasted the couple of hours it took to insert the new code. Experts suggest those who want to avoid similar situations in the future set one CDN as the default for their website but include a fallback or two in case their default network runs into problems.