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Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram Down in “Epic” Configuration Error Outage

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsAPP and Oculus VR went down early on October 4, 2021. The outage continued through the afternoon. It’s been determined from multiple sources that the outage is likely due to a major misconfiguration that knocked the sites completely off the Internet in what has been described as an epic and nightmare scenario.

Earlier Monday Facebook began slowing down and completely stopped, with browsers unable to resolve the domain. The problem happened across other Facebook owned sites as well.

BGP Routing

The problem may be due to configuration of Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing. The BGP routing protocol is a service that calculates the most efficient path to reach a website through the multiple autonomous systems/networks that form the Internet.

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When a browser asks for Facebook.com the domain name is translated by the DNS system to an Internet Protocol address (IP address) to a series of numbers that is an address. That IP address number is the address of the content on Facebook’s servers.

The browser makes the request and the BGP routing system calculates the fastest series of network hops to reach that content on Facebook’s servers.

Facebook BGP Routes Withdrawn

According to reports on Twitter, the BGP routes to Facebook have been dropped from the Internet.

The CTO of Cloudflare tweeted that five minutes before the Facebook DNS stopped working, they noticed a large number of BGP route withdrawals.

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He tweeted:

“About five minutes before Facebook’s DNS stopped working we saw a large number of BGP changes (mostly route withdrawals) for Facebook’s ASN.”

Cybercrime journalist Brian Krebs reported on Twitter:

“Confirmed: The DNS records that tell systems how to find Facebook.com or Instagram.com got withdrawn this morning from the global routing tables. Can you imagine working at FB right now, when your email no longer works & all your internal FB-based tools fail?”

One person commenting on the situation described it as an Internet network nightmare:

“Boarder Gateway Protocol (BGP) helps networks select the best, most efficient path for internet traffic.

Facebook’s BGP routes have been “withdrawn from the internet.”

This isn’t some basic DNS problem; this is a nightmare for Facebook.”

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Cyber Security Expert Kevin Beaumont called it an “epic configuration error”:

“This one looks like a pretty epic configuration error, Facebook basically don’t exist on the internet right now.

Even their authoritative name server ranges have been BGP withdrawn.”

Followed by:

“By not having BGP announcements for your DNS name servers, DNS falls apart = nobody can find you on the internet.

Same with WhatsApp btw.

Facebook have basically deplatformed themselves from their own platform.”

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Facebook Domain Listed as For Sale

In one of the stranger side effects of the Facebook BGP Routing error, the Facebook domain itself was listed in a whois lookup as being available for registration.

Screenshot Showing Facebook Domain for Sale

A GoDaddy subsidiary was taking offers on the domain:

Facebook Domain Listed as For Sale

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram Outage is an Epic Nightmare Scenario

The bottom line is that Facebook is down and there are major issues with the Facebook related services.

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