Facebook Admits Causing Recent Outage


Facebook admits causing its own recent outage and that of its photo sharing Instagram. There was a technical foul up early this week which caused the downtime of the social networks, Facebook confirms.

With cyber hackers recently crawling into huge services and shutting them down, many suspected it was Facebook’s turn this time. The first name coming into their minds was Lizard Squad, the hacker which shut down Xbox Live and PlayStation Network last Christmas by a Distributed Denial of Service attack, swamping the web service with traffic. Sources said no one is to blame and there was no DDoS but just internal technical issues.

The Lizard Squad has proven to be capable of shutting down huge services, but not as huge as Facebook. The recent outage of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network happened worldwide, simultaneously, something that is unlikely caused by DDoS. The social network is a big organization with highly distributed systems that attackers have to figure out how to shut them all down at once. Such need high technical know how of the service’ networks worldwide.

Lizard Squad lately has some security issues itself. Lizard Stresser, the database for the DDoS service leaked to the press, and there were reports the group has been hacked. Forbes has been told by the collective’s spokesperson that they passed around the passwords to be used in future attacks in an unencrypted database. Such were leaked by a trusted source.

Facebook admits causing its own recent outage, with some tinkering that resulted in an hour-long downtime. Apps that rely on Facebook for their services like Instagram, swipe-based dating Tinder and chat app AIM were also affected.

Facebook said the service interruption was caused by their introduction of a change which affected the configuration systems. The service which has 1.3 billion members around the world was unavailable for login to the network early this week, between 6:10 to 7:10 a.m. GMT, Tuesday; or 10:10 to 11:10 p.m. PST Monday.

Facebook was back in service after about an hour-long downtime; and so were Tinder, AIM and Instagram. Its engineers have identified the cause and were able to recover the site fast, said Production Engineering Manager Andrew Pope of Facebook. He added that users should already see lower error rates as the systems stabilize and that they expect no breaks in service anymore.

At the time when millions of users from all parts of the world had difficulty in accessing their accounts, Arthur Goldstuck, a media analyst hoped people made use of it by “liking” a person in real life. Some users tweeted the outage. For instance, Alistair Coleman wrote that while Facebook was unavailable, he nailed a photo of his breakfast outside his house to which seven people knocked saying they liked it.

While Facebook has admitted it caused its own recent outage, it likewise assures there is no data lost. The recent downtime is among the worst in four years. On September 2010, the network was down for two and a half hours. Such internal technical issues could risk Zuckerberg’s aim to place the social network at the forefront of the “social graph,” since any of their internal problem could affect many services real fast.

By Judith Aparri


Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble – Flickr License

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