Two of the world’s biggest social media sites were out of action for an hour this morning, with mobile apps also struggling to work after a suspected cyber-attack.
Facebook and Instagram, along with several other sites experienced major problem at around 6am GMT, as users couldn’t access webpages and mobile apps were left in a similar fashion.
The other websites involved in the outage were Myspace, Tinder and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). It’s believed that the high profile group Lizard Squad are behind the breakdown.
After claiming responsibility, it’s rumoured that Lizard Squad underwent a DDoS attack against Facebook, which involves targeting a single network with a multitude of infected systems.
It’s likely that the hacker group, which also managed to affect services to both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network over Christmas, targeted Facebook alone, which subsequently brought down Instagram.
Instagram was bought by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg recently, giving Facebook the rights to one of the most popular apps on the mobile market alongside its own.
Several reports first suggested that Facebook’s servers, which are based in and around New York, could have been affected by the adverse weather conditions in the state.
Around 36” of snow are expected to fall in the area over this week, in what’s being called the biggest snowstorm of its kind ever to hit the North-Eastern states.
All of the sites and apps affected were based in Europe, Asia and Northern America. And with over 1.25bn users of Facebook alone, it’s proved one of the biggest cyber-attacks of its kind if Lizard Squad does turn out to be the culprit.
Lizard Squad is the name of a now notorious cyber hacking group who have found success in targeting larger companies and networks online, causing multiple disruptions over the past 12 months.
Most recently, it was the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines who bore the brunt of Lizard Squad’s abilities when it managed to bring down their business site, stating ‘404 plane not found’ on its home page, in reference to the recent loss of two of its aircraft over the past year.
However, this most recent attack has been the biggest ever launched by the group if indeed they’re responsible for it, and is the first time the group have affected mobile services within the websites’ apps.
Facebook, Instagram and all of the other sites listed who were having issues are now back up and running, less than 4 hours after the attack, so it’s safe to say that the problem has been handled.
Facebook has claimed that no ‘third-party’ was involved, stating that a change of configurations caused the outage, however the Lizard Squad Twitter feed has hinted at claiming responsibility.
It’s also worth noting that whilst the drop did cripple mobile apps and services to each site, that your details were completely safe, and that your smartphone won’t be infected with any kind of virus.
Whilst the problem does seem to have been corrected, it’s still quite an eye opener about just how fragile our social networks are, and how quickly issues can arise with our mobile apps and websites.
Written by Luke Hatfield