Hacker group Lizard Squad said they were responsible for the temporary outage of Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday.
The glitch was reported in Asia, Australia, the US, and the UK. It affected access to the social media sites from PCs as well as Facebook’s mobile app.
Famous for its attention-seeking antics online, Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the temporary outage in a Twitter post that listed the sites it had hacked, including AIM, HipChat and Tinder. The post ended with the hashtagged statements “LizardSquad” and “offline”.
However, Facebook claimed that the disruption was due to a technical change and was not a cyberattack.
“This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems,” it said in a statement.
The loss of service is likely the biggest outage for Facebook since 24 September 2010, when it went offline for around two-and-a-half hours.
When access to Facebook was restored, some users in Asia reported that the site was not fully functioning or was loading slowly.
MWR InfoSecurity security consultant Guillermo Lafuente noted that a denial-of-service attack should have made the social media sites unreachable. In this case, however, users were greeted with an error message that said, “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”
Moreover, Facebook uses multiple data centres, so an attack on one of them would only affect one region rather than being global in scale as was the case in Tuesday’s outage.
Facebook has around 1.35 billion active users while Instagram has 300 million. The temporary outage occurred a day before Facebook was expected to announce its quarterly earnings.
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