Facebook, Products suffer worldwide outage

On Monday, Facebook, along with its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, experienced a global outage that lasted more than three hours. 

Employees' access to Facebook's internal systems was also disrupted. The service has yet to be restored. The outage, which began around 11:40 a.m. ET, has yet to be determined by the company. 

Websites and apps frequently experience outages of varying size and duration, but global outages lasting several hours are uncommon. 

Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik Inc, a network monitoring and intelligence company, said, "This is epic." In June, a major internet outage that took down many of the world's most popular websites lasted less than an hour.

Fastly, the troubled content delivery company in that case, blamed the problem on a software bug caused by a customer changing a setting. 

So far, Facebook's only public statement has been a tweet acknowledging that "some people are having trouble accessing (the) Facebook app" and that it is working to restore access. 

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said it feels like a "snow day" because of the internal failures. However, the impact on Facebook's nearly 3 billion users was far worse, demonstrating how much the world has come to rely on it and its properties — to run businesses, connect with affinity communities, log on to multiple other websites, and even order food.

The cause of the outage has yet to be determined. According to Madory, Facebook appears to have disabled “authoritative DNS routes,” which allow the rest of the internet to communicate with its properties. 

The Domain Name System, a central component of the internet that directs traffic, includes such routes. Apps and web addresses would be unable to locate Facebook if it did not broadcast its routes on the public internet. 

Because so many people rely on Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram as their primary means of communication, losing access for an extended period of time can leave them vulnerable to criminals exploiting the outage, according to Rachel Tobac, a hacker and CEO of SocialProof Security.

“Without it, they don't know how to contact the people in their lives,” she explained. “Because they're so desperate to communicate, they're more vulnerable to social engineering.” 

During previous outages, some people, according to Tobac, received emails promising to restore their social media accounts by clicking on a malicious link that could expose their personal information. 

While foul play cannot be completely ruled out, Jake Williams, chief technical officer of cybersecurity firm BreachQuest, believes the outage is most likely due to "an operational issue" caused by human error.

Madory believes there is no evidence that anyone other than Facebook is to blame, and he dismisses the possibility that another major internet player, such as a telecommunications company, may have inadvertently rewritten major routing tables that affect Facebook. “These routes were not announced by anyone else,” Madory said.

Source: AP News


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