Global outages hit Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and others

News by SC Staff

A host of Twitter posts say Facebook is suffering its worst DDoS attack, with Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users unable to get online, refresh feeds or post to the sites. Not so says Facebook.

According to a host of Twitter posts, Facebook is suffering its worst DDoS attack, with Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users unable to get online , refresh feeds or post to the sites from around 6pm last night.

It does appear to be linked global outages which follow major problems with Gmail and other Google products overnight, but there is no evidence of linkage other than that these problems have all happened at the same time.

The Independent newspaper reporting late last night, said: "The outage appears to be getting worse, according to Down Detector. Facebook, Instagram and to a lesser extent WhatsApp are all still having big troubles; other non-Facebook apps including Twitter seem to be having problems as well."

Facebook acknowledges that there is a problem but says it is not due to a DDoS attack, commenting:

"We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible:

"We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack."

In an email to SC Media UK, Tim Helming, director of product management at DomainTools said: "If this does turn out to be a DDoS attack, it underscores that this kind of attack is among the more intractable methods, because even the most sophisticated DDoS mitigation technologies--which Facebook likely has at their disposal--have their limitations. Because DDoS relies on huge numbers of conscripted zombie machines, often IoT devices, it's incumbent upon all of us to practice good cyber hygiene to limit the number of resources a DoS attacker can marshall."

The BBC this morning reported, "Facebook's apps seemed to be recovering on Thursday morning, with Instagram announcing it was back."

Facebook has not said what the cause might be, but an NBC News broadcaster says it was related to "overloaded" databases.

Twitter users’ best advice is, "have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Alex Henthorn-Iwane, VP product marketing at ThousandEyes emailed SC Media UK to comment: "From what ThousandEyes can see, this seems to be just an unlucky coincidence that Google and Facebook have both experienced significant global outages in the last twelve hours."

"The cause would appear to be internal rather than a network or Internet delivery issue--for example we saw '500 internal server errors' from Facebook. Given the sheer scale and continuous changes that these web scale providers are constantly making to their applications and infrastructure, sometimes things break as a result of these changes, even in the most capable hands."

"ThousandEyes looks at issues from the user’s vantage point. When investigating Facebook’s issues today, we’re not seeing any BGP changes that are affecting connectivity, packet loss or latency. Since Facebook uses its own backbone network, it’s not clear / we don’t have insight as to how an external transit route issue would cause a disruption within the internal Facebook network."

"If a route leak were affecting user access from the Internet to the Facebook edge, then it would most likely manifest as paths changing, such as what happened when user access to Google was impacted by a route leak."

"Our global vantage points were able to capture the path changes in that case, but we’re not seeing any evidence so far of that happening today."

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