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Thursday, 14 March 2019 08:03

Facebook, Instagram and Messenger down; no DDoS, says firm

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Facebook, Instagram and Messenger down; no DDoS, says firm Pixabay

Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger are suffering a prolonged outage across a number of countries, with the social media firm saying it is aware of a problem in some areas, but denying that it is due to a DDoS attack.

According to a network professional, the outage appears to be due to a border gateway protocol routing leak.

Roland Dobbins, principal engineer at application and network performance management products provider NETSCOUT, said: “At approximately 12:52PM EST on 13 March, it appears that an accidental BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP, which was then propagated onwards to some peers and/or downstreams of the transit ISP in question, resulted in perceptible disruption of access to some well-known Internet properties for a short interval."

BGP errors have been responsible for outages in the recent past, with Australia's biggest telco Telstra taking down part of the Internet in Australia on 15 November 2018 due to a stuff-up with the routes it advertised through the border gateway protocol.

The same month, BGP routing appeared to have been used to hijack Google's Cloud. Later the problem was identified as having been caused by a small African ISP that announced itself as a few hundred Google networks. The error was admitted by the ISP later, saying: "We have investigated the advertisement of @Google prefixes through one of our upstream partners. This was an error during a planned network upgrade due to a misconfiguration on our BGP filters. The error was corrected within 74mins & processes put in place to avoid reoccurrence."

The website Downdetector shows that the site is experiencing issues across parts of the US, South America, and Western Europe.

Downdetector indicates that outages have started at about 4am AEDT.

facebook outage map

The outage map at 8am AEDT. Courtesy Downdetector

As usual, users have taken to Twitter to vent and offer their often humorous, and cutting takes on the woes of the biggest social media site.

There was no information on the Facebook news page at 8am AEDT.

But, somewhat ironically, Facebook posted a couple of tweets about its woes. The second, posted at about 6am AEDT, said:

"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."

Dobbins added: "While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis. It is very important that all network operators implement BGP peering best current practices, including prefix-lists, max-prefixes, ‘peer-locking’ via AS-PATH filters, RPKI Origin Validation (RFC6811), and other techniques incorporated into the industry Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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