27 January 2015

Yes, Facebook Really Was Down -- It Wasn't You!

Social Media Giant Experienced Rare Total Blackout
27 January 2015
By A.F. James MacArthur

Users attempting to login to the worlds most popular social media site were unable to early Tuesday morning. For over an hour, beginning shortly after 1:00 a.m. and lasting till sometime after 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the site appeared to have been completely inaccessible.

Login was attempted from various devices -- using different independent internet service providers and networks -- at MacArthur Media world headquarters, before it was realized the problem was system wide.

CBS Los Angeles reported Facebook released a statement at 1:55 a.m. that read:
“We’re aware that many people are currently having trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
 The full scope and number of users affected was unclear. Instagram is owned by Facebook.

Around 1:00 am, I'd posted a status update on The Baltimore Spectator Facebook page. The post was successful, but within moments when I tried to share it to my personal timeline and several other pages, the site, though still up, appeared to be sluggish and unresponsive.

It went from unresponsive to total blackout.

According to website DownDetector.com -- a site that tracks website service interruptions -- Facebook began having "issues" around 12:10 a.m. There was no information was listed stating exactly when total blackout occurred.

Twitter As A Secondary Source

Thousands of people took to Twitter -- the world's second most popular social media site -- inquiring to see whether it was Facebook that was down, or if the issues problems on their end.

Although these sort of total blackouts seem relatively rare, it wasn't too long ago when Twitter had a similar problem.

Hacking History

Online hacking collective Lizard Squad, shutdown Twitter in last December after having first launched a vicious Christmas day attack on the Sony Play Station and Xbox gaming networks. The attack on the gaming networks lasted nearly two days before service was restored.

In 2009 Twitter experienced a "Denial of Service" (Dos) attack. The attacks are also referred to as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). That outage lasted about two hours. Facebook and LiveJournal also experienced service interruptions as part of that same attack. 

Lizard Lock-down

On 1 January, PCWorld.com reported two men -- including a 17-year-old -- were arrested in connection with the group in response to the December attacks.

At this point there doesn't appear to be any groups taking responsibility for the Facebook blackout, nor is there any indication on precisely what caused the disruption. Citing security concerns, companies are usually vague in their explanations of what vulnerability may have been exploited, causing their systems to fail.

UPDATE: While this story was being written, CBS Los Angeles reported via Twitter, that Lizard Squad was responsible for the outage and that Instagram was also down. Note, claims like this are difficult to verify. Individuals actually responsible may not necessarily be the ones seeking publicity points for claiming so.

Researcher, independent investigator, and entrepreneur, A.F. James MacArthur is Baltimore's most well known independent journalist contributor. A member of the underground news network for over 20 years. During this time, he's been a frequent subject of attack by government under the guise of law enforcement. Although closely watched and followed, he's often boycotted from being given any credit for his work by mainstream media.

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To all those who willfully, deliberately and routinely violate the civil rights of law abiding American Citizens; Yes, you're powerful. Sure, you're everywhere. But this is still America, and the Constitution of the United States Of America still reigns supreme as the law of the land. The Baltimore Spectator will vigorously and aggressively defend against any and all attempts at spying and suppression. Let it be known to all that we are already aware of the regular monitoring and shadowing attempts. There is nothing to hide, but cross the line and there will be hell to pay.

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A.F. James MacArthur -- American patriot & lover of liberty.

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