Trouble with facebook services possible trigger of the problems found

Several services of the Facebook Group were affected by an outage on Monday. (Symbol photo) Photo: dpa/Uli Deck

Several services of the Facebook group were affected by an outage on Monday. (Symbol photo) Photo: dpa/Uli Deck

All of a sudden, Facebook services such as the online network and Whatsapp are no longer accessible for many users. Some web experts have found a possible cause for the problem.

New York – In an unusually large outage, several of Facebook’s services went offline across the board on Monday. In addition to the actual Facebook platform, the chat service WhatsApp and the photo app Instagram were also unavailable, as disruption reports on websites such as Downdetector showed. A Facebook spokesperson apologized via Twitter and assured that the online network was working on the fault clearance. Causes for the problems were not mentioned at first.

For some web experts, it looked like a problem with the DNS service. Among other things, this service ensures that website names typed with letters are translated into IP addresses so that they can be accessed.

Experts: DNS records of Facebook services disappeared

According to some experts, the DNS records of the Facebook services disappeared from the service that controls data traffic – making them invisible to the network infrastructure, so to speak. In other words, Facebook has removed the map thanks to which computers around the world find the group’s services, wrote IT security expert Brian Krebs. "If someone has the address into its web browser, the browser has no idea where to find finds and gives an error message."

Worse, the chief technology officer of cloud service provider Cloudflare, John Graham-Cumming, pointed out that users and also software continued to try to access Facebook services. This causes a massive increase in the load on other DNS services, he wrote on Twitter.

Cyberattack as a trigger probably unlikely

Two unnamed Facebook IT security experts told The New York Times that a cyberattack seems unlikely to have triggered the problems. That’s because the technology behind the group’s individual apps is too different to take them all offline at the same time with a cyberattack, he said. According to the newspaper, the internal communication system at Facebook also failed.

Just for sharing about the outage, Twitter’s hour struck – and the Facebook competitor was aware of it. "Hello literally everyone," tweeted the short messaging service’s account.

Outage lasting several hours only the culmination

For Facebook, which is under increased political pressure in the U.S. right now, an outage lasting several hours was a disgraceful culmination of bad weeks anyway. Just on Sunday, a former employee came forward as a whistleblower, accusing the online network of putting profit over the well-being of its users. She was scheduled to be questioned in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Twitter was appropriately full of jokes Monday about how Facebook’s disappearance had made everything better in one fell swoop, up to and including world peace. "Hopefully facebook, instagram and whatsapp never turn on again," satirist Jan Bohmermann tweeted.

On the disruption platforms, users sometimes reported problems with other online services as well, but these were not initially widely confirmed. For example, at Amazon’s major web service provider AWS, which many startups and large companies rely on, all services were running normally, according to the status page.

DNS disturbances are more frequent

DNA glitches happen every now and then. For example, one of them in July had caused numerous websites to be temporarily unavailable. Triggered at the time were problems at the web service provider Akamai. The centralization of the network infrastructure at large providers ensures that an outage at one company can take many services and websites offline at the same time.

At the beginning of June, numerous websites around the world were also unavailable for around an hour after a disruption to the Fastly cloud service. At the time, among others, the site of the British government, the platform Reddit and the news portals of the "Guardian", the "New York Times", the "Financial Times" and the French newspaper "Le Monde" were affected.

Facebook had experienced a widespread outage in the spring of 2019, which the group said was due to a server configuration error.

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