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Global meta failure: what do we know and what is the likely cause?

Yesterday's global metadata outage appears to have taken down the company's entire network, leaving users unable to access Facebook, Messenger, Instagram , Threads and Quest headsets.

The outage lasted between one and two hours for most users, and while everything now appears to be back to normal, questions are naturally being asked about what went wrong and #8230;

The company remained silent, simply acknowledging the failure and apologizing for the inconvenience.

Earlier today, due to a technical issue, people were having difficulty accessing some of our services. We have resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone affected and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Almost certainly not a wider problem

There has been speculation that the problem could be wider, and Meta is not the only company affected.

Cybersecurity expert Matthew Green said the glitch appeared to be beyond Meta. “A number of services are having issues with at least parts of their systems, particularly the ability to log into websites,” he said. said Green, an assistant professor of computer science and a member of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “This may indicate a common cause, such as a failure at a major cloud service provider.”

However, given the fact that the Meta failure appears to have been a complete failure at no other platform has not experienced problems of the same magnitude, this seems unlikely. Much more limited problems reported by other services may be related to damage to submarine cables in the Red Sea.

Damage to submarine cables in the Red Sea disrupts telecommunications . networks and forcing providers to redirect up to a quarter of traffic between Asia, Europe and the Middle East, including Internet traffic.

Such a routing change would put a strain on other parts of the Internet.

Cyber ​​Attack Possible, but Unlikely

It was also inevitable that the Meta might have been subject to a cyber attack, especially on Super Tuesday, when the largest number of US states hold their presidential primary elections.

However, , while security experts say it can't be ruled out, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says it considers it unlikely.

At a press briefing yesterday, What regarding election security, CISA said it was “aware of the incident and its global scope,” adding that malicious cyber activity was not likely involved.

“We are aware of the incident and are not currently aware of any specific connection to the election or any specific malicious cyber activity related to the power outage,” the US agency said.

Some groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, but usually organizations make unsubstantiated claims hoping to draw attention to their cause.

Most likely a repeat of 2021

The most likely explanation is that this was actually a repeat of what happened back in 2021: a mistake made by someone at Meta .

In this case, it was an error that occurred, ironically, while engineers were checking the availability of network bandwidth.

In During one of these scheduled maintenance activities, a command was issued with the intention of assessing the availability of the global backbone network, which inadvertently disabled all connections on our backbone network, effectively shutting down Facebook's data centers around the world. Our systems are designed to audit commands like these to prevent errors like this, but a bug in this audit tool did not stop the command as expected.

This change resulted in our server's connections between our data being completely disabled. centers and the Internet.

Although the exact cause may be different this time (one would have to hope this particular mistake doesn't happen again!), all signs point to another internal error of the same general nature.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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