What happened to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp? – Krebs on security



Facebook and its sister properties Instagram and WhatsApp suffer from ongoing global blackouts. We don’t yet know why this happened, but the how is clear: Earlier this morning, something inside Facebook prompted the company to revoke key digital records that tell computers and other connected devices on the Internet how to find these destinations online.

Kentik’s take on the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp breakdown.

Doug Madory is Director of Internet Analytics at Kentik, a San Francisco-based network monitoring company. Madory said that at around 11:39 a.m. ET today (3:39 p.m. UTC), someone at Facebook caused an update to the company’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records. BGP is a mechanism by which the world’s Internet service providers share information about the providers responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses.

Put simply, this morning Facebook took away the map telling computers around the world how to find its various properties online. As a result, when typing Facebook.com into a web browser, the browser has no idea where to find Facebook.com and therefore returns an error page.

In addition to blocking billions of users, the Facebook outage also prevented its employees from communicating with each other using their internal Facebook tools. This is because Facebook’s emails and tools are all managed in-house and through the same domains that are now blocked.

“Not only are Facebook’s services and applications inaccessible to the public, but its internal tools and communication platforms, including Workplace, are also available,” the New York Times technical reporter said. Ryan mac tweeted. “No one can work. Several people I spoke to told me that it was the equivalent of a “snow day” at the company. “

The mass failure occurs just a few hours after 60 minutes of CBS broadcast a long-awaited interview with Francoise Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who recently disclosed a number of internal Facebook investigations showing the company knew its products were causing massive damage and was prioritizing profits rather than taking bolder steps to reduce abuse on its platform, including disinformation and hate speech.

We don’t know how or why the outages persist on Facebook and its other properties, but the changes had to come from within the company, as Facebook manages these records internally. Whether the changes were made maliciously or by accident is a puzzle at this point.

Madory said it could be that someone on Facebook screwed up.

“Over the last year or so, we’ve seen a lot of these big blackouts where some sort of global network configuration update has gone wrong,” Madory said. “We obviously can’t rule out that someone might hack them, but they could have done that to themselves as well.”

In the meantime, several different domain registrars have put the Facebook.com domain up for sale. There is no reason to believe that this domain will actually be sold as a result, but it’s fun to consider how many billions of dollars it could bring in on the open market.

This is a developing story and will likely be updated throughout the day.



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