Why Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all closed down today


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Facebook, Instagram, On Monday, the interruption of WhatsApp and Oculus brought every corner of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire offline. This is a social media blackout that can best be described as “complete” and seems particularly difficult to resolve.

Facebook itself has not yet confirmed the root cause of its plight, but clues abound on the Internet. Based on the inaccessible time recorded by its domain name system, the company’s series of applications effectively disappeared from the Internet at 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time. DNS is often referred to as the phone book of the Internet; it converts the host names you enter into the URL tab (such as facebook.com) into IP addresses, which are the IP addresses where these sites are located.

DNS incidents are very common, and when in doubt, they are the cause of downtime for a given site. They can occur due to various unstable technical reasons, usually related to configuration issues, and can be resolved relatively simply. However, in this case, something more serious seems to be happening.

“Facebook’s outage seems to be caused by DNS; however, this is just a manifestation of the problem,” said Troy Mursch, chief research officer at Bad Packets, a cyber threat intelligence company. Mursch said that the basic problem is—and other experts agree—that Facebook has withdrawn the so-called Border Gateway Protocol routing, which contains the IP addresses of its DNS name servers. If DNS is the phone book of the Internet, then BGP is its navigation system; it determines the route that data takes when traveling on the information highway.

“You can think of it as a phone game,” but it’s not people playing, but smaller networks that let each other know how to contact them, says Angelique Medina, product marketing director at network monitoring company CiscoThousandEyes. “They announce this route to their neighbors, and their neighbors will spread it to their peers.”

This is a lot of jargon, but it’s easy to make it clear: Facebook has disappeared from the Internet map. What if you try to ping these IP addresses now? “These packets ended up in a black hole,” Mursch said.

A map shows the location where Facebook cannot be accessed due to a failed DNS resolution-basically, it is everywhere and at the same time.

Provided by Cisco Thousand Eyes

The obvious but still unresolved question is why these BGP routes disappeared in the first place. This is not a common disease, especially at this scale or duration. Facebook didn’t say anything other than a tweet saying it “is working hard to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.” But Internet infrastructure experts who talked to WIRED said that the most likely answer is Facebook’s misconfiguration. John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer of Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, said: “It looks like Facebook did something with their routers, which connect the Facebook network to the rest of the Internet,” he emphasized that he didn’t know the details of what happened. what. After all, he said, the Internet is essentially a network of networks, and each network advertises its existence to the other. This time, Facebook stopped advertising.

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