Explained: Why Facebook, WhatsApp Instagram went down – Times of India
What led to Facebook platforms ‘crashing’
Cybercrime specialists and cybersecurity researchers have attempted to break down the cause. At the heart of it, as per Bryan Krebs, a cybercrime reporter, it was a BGP or Border Gateway Protocol issue.
What is Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)?
Simply put, it is the protocol that runs the internet or makes it work. Since the internet is a network of networks, BGP is the mechanism that bounds it together. When the BGP doesn’t work, internet routers can’t really figure out what to do and that leads to the internet not working. The routers — big ones — keep up on updating other possible routes that are used to deliver network packets to the last possible source. In this case, Facebook platforms were the last point of destination and BGP problem meant Facebook was unable to tell other networks know that it was on the internet.
How does Border Gateway Protocol work?
To borrow an analogy from The Verge, the BGP is like an entity that is responsible for creating and more importantly updating maps that lead you to sites like Google, Facebook or YouTube. So if someone is responsible for making and updating the map, and they make a mistake, then the traffic — or users — will not end up reaching that place.
How did a BGP issue affect Facebook?
According to researchers at Cloudflare, “a BGP update message informs a router of any changes you’ve made to a prefix advertisement or entirely withdraws the prefix.” There were a lot of routing changes from Facebook last night and then routes were withdrawn, Facebook’s DNS servers went offline. DNS is Domain Name Server and if you are wondering what that is then here’s what it means.
As Cloudflare explains, “Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet.” People access information online through domain names — timesofindia.com or facebook.com. Internet browsers use IP or Internet Protocol addresses and what DNS does is that it translates domain names to IP addresses to browsers can load internet resources.
What does Facebook have to say about the outage?
In an official blog post, Facebook said that “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”
A faulty configuration change: That’s what took
Facebook made it clear that it wasn’t a hack or cyberattack. “We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime,” the social media giant said in a blog post.
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp are back now and the company is “sorry for the disruption”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post said that the platforms are slowly coming back. And Zuckerberg threw in an apology as well. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” he said.
We’re now back and running at 100%. 💚 Thank you to everyone around the world today for your patience while our te… https://t.co/HkIwVgnb8o
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