A known hacking crew going by the name of Lizard Squad instantly claimed that they were behind the outage, openly blagging about their supposed Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS Attack) on the social media giants. Despite the Squad’s gloating however, Facebook was quick to hold its own hands up, saying that a technical problem was to blame and not an attack.
DDos Attacks have seen a lot of news coverage over the past few months, with the infamous Sony hacks and other high profile cases demonstrating the scale that such security attacks can reach. Lizard Quad itself first came into the spotlight with its DDoS attacks on Xbox Live and Sony Playstation Networks just before Christmas. It also launched a worrying DDoS-for-hire service.
The very fact that an attack has been speculated shows how difficult they are to report. Facebook’s dismissal soon disappeared beneath a tidal wave of Twitter activity, the moment that Lizard Squad posted a proud confession. With such rapid and widespread publicity available at the touch of a button, any hacking group can lay claim to online incidents. This puts law enforcement agencies in a tough predicament.
On this occasion however, security experts are seemingly siding with Facebook – putting the whole thing down to an engineering hitch. AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM) has yet to comment, while Tinder (which was also down along with Instagram) made a joke of the situation.
The real reason for the incident will no doubt remain a mystery. But whatever the cause, the fragility of one of the biggest Internet giants has been exposed. This makes it more important than ever for individuals and businesses to take all the necessary steps to protect their data as best they can.