March 14, 2019– Mary Greeley News – Facebook has denied it was hacked despite the most severe outage in the firm’s history that kept users locked out for more than 14 hours.
Reports began at around 5pm GMT (1pm ET) yesterday that the Facebook ‘family’ of apps, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, were down.
Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has blamed a ‘database overload’ on its network of servers for the downtime, rather than an external attack.
In a tweet sent during the outage, Facebook wrote: “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.”
A tweet (since deleted) by Derek Gannon, who reports on terrorism, soon went viral with the claim that Facebook data seemed to suggest the site was being targeted by a DDoS attack from a “nation state”.
Speculation is growing online that the outage was the result of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, although the firm says this was not the case.
Hackers regularly attempt to take big companies like Facebook offline, often through the use of DDoS attacks.
These attacks attempt to crash a website or online service by bombarding them with a torrent of data at exactly the same time
The surge of simple requests overloads the servers, causing them to become overwhelmed and shut down.
Cyber-attackers often use botnets – networks of computers brought under their control through infection using viruses and other malware – to launch these attacks.
But Facebook later claimed that this was not the case.
Funny how my screen says FB is down for maintence when I try to log on. And supposedly this isn't a DDoS hack but we were never told they were going to do maintence…
— Trevina King (@trevinaking) March 14, 2019
“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,” Facebook explained in a tweet.
A Facebook spokesperson separately confirmed to The Sun that the outage was not related to a DDoS.
NBC’s Raj Mathai later reported that an internal Facebook source had pinned the outage on “database problems”, suggesting that the systems had been overloaded.
“We are racing to spin up new machines as others go down. Mostly resolved…but it takes time,” the source is quoted as saying.
We’ve asked Facebook for comment on this claim and will update our article with any response.
Facebook saw a huge spike in complaints at around 4pm UK time on Wednesday, as reported by outage tracker Down Detector.
OK Facebook, if this isn't a hack what is it?
Did someone at FB screw up the code? Was it sabotage?
Did increasingly complicated algorithms short out your platform?
— Dannysierra (@Dannysierra) March 14, 2019
Until then, it’s impossible to say exactly what caused the outage, but security experts are calling on Facebook to reveal the reason to the world.
“With Facebook and other social media platforms in the news for a variety of security related items in 2018, it’s only reasonable the public would suspect ‘hackers’,” Tim Mackey, senior technical evangelist at Synopsys, told The Sun.
“I suspect the real reason will be more mundane. Perhaps a misconfiguration of some software, perhaps a hardware issue, or maybe simply a software update gone wrong are far more likely causes.
“I do hope that Facebook follows radical transparency and details the real cause of this outage.
“Doing so would go a long way in communicating that our privacy can continue to be trusted on their platform.”
credit in part with https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/8634055/facebook-hacked-ddos-cyber-attack-down-not-working/