Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Post office upgrade affects service

DISRUPTION:Chunghwa Post’s chief secretary said that the program crash was the most serious incidents that it has faced during operating hours in the past few years

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A piece of paper reading “out of order” is stuck on a Chunghwa Post ATM in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Ping-chao, Taipei Times

Post offices nationwide were partially shut down for more than an hour yesterday morning when a scheduled upgrade to the program that controls savings and remittance transactions affected operations.

The incident affected 1,299 post offices and 3,206 automatic teller machines, Chunghwa Post said, adding that Internet transactions were also suspended.

“We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the incident,” Chunghwa Post chief secretary Chien Liang-lien (簡良璘) said.

It was the most serious incident that has happened during the company’s business hours in the past few years, she added.

Despite the disruption, it was still able to handle savings and remittance service requests offline, Chien said.

People who only needed to send mail or packages were not affected, she said.

Chien said the incident occurred at 9:09am, when it was scheduled to upgrade the program that controls savings and remittance transactions.

“Because the post offices were closed on Tuesday to observe the International Labor Day and it is the beginning of May, there was a surge in the number of transactions over a short period time,” she said.

“This caused the program to produce a large number of error messages, which in turn depleted the information management system’s memory,” Chien said. “This subsequently led to the system’s suspension.”

Technical specialists managed to increase the system’s capacity and revised the program before reactivating it at 10am, she said, adding that the system did not resume normal operations until 10:20am.

Chien said the last time an abnormality in the company’s information management system was detected was at 2:47am on June 13 last year, when its mainframe ran out of memory.

That led to an unstable connection and caused transactions to proceed intermittently, she said, adding that the system resumed operations at 9am on the same day.

The system is maintained once every two months, Chien said.

In light of yesterday’s incident, the company would adjust how often the system, as well as the system’s alert mechanism, is monitored, she said.

This should help its specialists identify and solve system abnormalities more efficiently, Chien said, adding that the adjustment would be completed this week.

To prevent a recurrence of the problems, the company is evaluating the possibility of installing backup memory for the system, she said.

Coincidentally, netizens discovered that the postal company’s mainframe was attacked by a killer computer virus on the same day in 2004.

It affected about 1,600 computers in 430 post offices and more than 100,000 customers.

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