Emails are essential. Those who work cannot do without them, but they are also used to book cinema tickets or access streaming services, to receive information from the children’s school or to receive tickets for the next trip. Hence, the frustration of users of Libero and Virgiliothat for more than 48 hours they have not been able to access their email account, it is more than understandable. Also why, it is not yet results. But what is happening to the servers of Italiaonline, the provider behind these two email services?
The emails from Libero and Virgilio have been down for two days
The problem starts on the night of Monday 23 January, shortly after midnight. Given the time, there are reports of disruption, albeit few. During office hours, however, the social accounts of Libero and Virgilio are overwhelmed with requests from users, who have no way of accessing their e-mail box.
The situation continues throughout Tuesday 24 January and even today the reports are multiplying. On the Downdetector reporting pages of both Virgilio and Libero, the only dips in reporting occur during the nightdue to users going to sleep, not because the service has started working again.
Thousands of reports. And if you consider that most users don’t know Downdetector or don’t bother to report inefficiencies online, you understand that the situation is rather problematic. After all, together Liber and Virgil, both under the aegis of Italyonlinethe provider of the service, offer access to e-mail to November millions of accounts.
But what’s going on?
The official response of the companies (which we have reported here) after several contacts on social networks. Both Libero and Virgilio have in fact kept their users updated in a transparent way, communicating with their users rightly annoyed by the disservice.
In the official announcement, the companies acknowledged that “as of the night of January 23, 2023 they are verifying disruptions on the infrastructure to which the Libero and Virgilio web services belong, especially e-mail”.
They explain that it is a problem of a technical nature, therefore not related to any cyber attacks of any kind. “The issue has been identified, and is being resolved, which is due to a disruption within our data center. This is an internal technical issue only, which means that we categorically exclude potential hacker attacks and that our users’ data, which is their most valuable asset, is not in danger.”
Corporate email cybercriminals
The fact that it is not a cybersecurity problem should reassure users (although the disappointment is understandable), especially since it means that no hackers have had access to personal data. But also because, once solved, you should have access to all your emails without data loss. In fact, the two companies explain that “once the service is restored, will not generate any losses for the millions of Libero and Virgilio mail accounts, except unfortunately the high inconvenience that our users are forced to suffer in these hours and for which we apologize, trusting in a resolution as quickly as possible“.
A slide for Italian emails
I email providers are very many: there are dozens of services for all budgets, not counting corporate emails and more. However, the landscape is pretty much dominated by a few services like Gmail, if only due to the fact that anyone with an Android smartphone has every incentive to do so.
With 9 million business accounts, Libero and Virgilio represented an important Italian response, demonstrating that they have an important market share. They have been providing this service successfully for 25 yearsor. But two days without fixing this problem could have a major impact: as mentioned, the competition is explained.
Italiaonline, the company that controls both e-mail providers, nonetheless relies on customer trust even in this moment of crisis. As he explains Diego RizziChief Technology Officer of Italiaonline: “We have been working tirelessly for several hours now to solve an unexpected and unforeseen infrastructural problem and which it did not depend on systems developed by Italiaonline. We can reassure, as already written on our portals and digital touchpoints, that our users have been in this emergency situation, and will always continue to be, our priority. The current situation is not dependent on external cyber attacks”.
That “which did not depend on systems developed by Italiaonline” suggests that the problem comes from one of the company’s partners or suppliers. Though the company doesn’t seem ready to point the finger at anyone at the moment.
How to solve the Libero and Virgilio email down problem
For users, this problem is difficult to solve: we use email for many different services. If you are waiting for a work or particularly important email, the advice is to contact by phone the person you need to communicate with and find a solution in this way.
For file transfer, you can use services like Dropboxbut also messaging apps that allow you to transfer files without reducing their size such as Telegram.
You can use services like DropMail o TempMail: you will have a temporary address and you will be able to consult a disposable box directly on the site page.
Changing the email service altogether remains the last drastic solution. But if you think of all the contacts you’ll need to export and the people you need to contact about the address change, we think that only the most “angry” users will bother to do it.
In any case, for emails sent while Libero and Virgilio were down, the only thing left to do is wait (hopefully the problem will be fixed soon).