March 14, 2019

There’s been a pretty big breaking news story over the last 24-hours.  And, unless you live in a dark, damp well, you’ll know all about it – the Facebook outage.

It all started around 3pm yesterday, with the hashtag circulating on Twitter – #facebookdown.  In fact, the outage was more widespread than that – affecting Instagram too.  You can picture the scenes now can’t you?  People losing their minds because they can’t snap a picture of what they’ve eaten for dinner.  Oh the humility.

What you might have also seen, is that Facebook flat out denied the outage could be caused by a distributed denial of service attack.  In fact, they went as far to say that it “has nothing to do with outside hacking attempts”.

With the story still breaking, Forbes reached out to us at The Defence Works to offer our comment on the matter, with our MD, Edward Whittingham commenting:

It’s fair to say that in the face of it the outage has all of the hallmarks of a DDoS attack, as the sole purpose of these types of attacks is to bring down entire websites. However, you’d expect Facebook to be well guarded in against these types of attacks, as they will use such incredibly huge volumes of bandwidth it’s perhaps difficult to see how they couldn’t absorb even a monumental DDoS attack. That said though, no organisation can honestly guard against these attacks with 100% certainty – even Facebook.

So, maybe DDoS isn’t the attack vector here, but it does beg the question as to what else could be lurking behind the scenes? This could well be an internal issue but, in the absence of any other evidence (and Facebook’s very vague responses to date), who’s to say this internal issue wasn’t caused by some sort of attack – whether it be phishing, social engineering or otherwise?

Time will tell what has caused the outage, but if we had to put our money on it at this stage, we’d hazard a guess that it was down to some form of hardware issue or malfunction – or maybe issues relating to a software update.

What will be really interesting, is just how much Facebook will ever tell us about the outage.

Should consumers be concerned about their data on Facebook’s platform?

Well, as Facebook continue to demonstrate time and time again – they’re not doing enough to protect our privacy, so yes – consumers should be concerned and all Facebook users should, collectively, demand answers.

You can read the full Forbes article here.

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