Why Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp Are All Going Now

A Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and the disappearance of Oculus knocked every corner of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire offline on Monday. It’s a social media blackout that has been more lovingly described as “perfect,” and seems likely to prove to be even harder to fix.

Facebook itself has not confirmed the root cause of its misfortunes, but there are many signs on the internet. The company’s family of apps effectively fell to the surface on the internet at 11:40 am ET, according to when it Domain Name System the records became unreachable. DNS has always been referred to as the internet phone book; These are the translated host names that you type in a URL tab-like facebook.com-to the IP addresses, where those sites reside.

DNS mishaps are good enough, and if in doubt they are the reason why a given site disappears. This happens for all sorts of bad technical reasons, is always related to issues to be resolved, and can be straightforward to resolve. However, in this case, there is something more serious to be seen.

“The disappearance of Facebook appears to be the cause of DNS; Yet that’s just a symptom of the problem,” said Troy Mursch, chief research officer at cyberthreat intelligence company Bad Packets. The main issue, Mursch said – and other experts agree – that’s why Facebook took the so -called Border Gateway Protocol route that contains the IP addresses of DNS nameservers.If DNS is the internet’s phone book, BGP is the system’s navigation; it will decide what route data is taken as it travels the information superhighway.

“You can think of it as a phone game,” but instead of people playing, these networks are less likely to let each other know how to reach them, says Angelique Medina, director of product marketing at network monitoring. firm Cisco ThousandEyes. “They advertise this route to their neighbor and let their neighbor know about it with their peers.”

It’s a lot of jargon, but it’s easy to put down: Facebook has fallen on the internet map. If you try to ping IP addresses right now? “The packets ended up in a black hole,” Mursch said.

A map is shown where Facebook is inaccessible due to DNS resolution failures – basically, it’s everywhere, all at once.

Courtesy of Thousand Eyes of Cisco

The obvious and unresolved question is why the BGP routes disappeared in the first place. It is not a common disease, especially on this scale or for this duration. Facebook did not say anything beyond a tweet that it was “working to get things back to normal as soon as possible.” But the internet infrastructure experts who spoke to WIRED all suggested that the most similar answer was a misconfiguration on the part of Facebook. “It would appear that Facebook has something to do with their routers, those that connect Facebook’s network to the rest of the internet,” said John Graham-Cumming, CTO of internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, who insisted he didn’t find out the details of what happened. After all, he says, the internet is essentially a network of networks, each announcing its presence to the other. For once, Facebook stopped advertising.

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