Facebook’s recounting of what the company calls the “October 4th outage” cites “configuration changes on the backbone routers” as the culprit for its platform, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp, going offline for several hours. A backbone router is what is employed to allow interconnectivity of networks, thereby ensuring information is exchanged between local area networks (LANs) and other networks. As the name implies, this vital resource is required to be fully operational for inbound and outbound connections to exist. Misconfiguration within this resource is akin to a denial-of-service attack emanating from a threat actor (TA) with the end result being the same — business operations and availability of the resource being gravely impacted.
Reviewing the timeline of events from an external perspective, like a Facebook consumer, we must again review events from a very granular, yet simplistic point of view. Networks need to communicate – how do they do so? In order for a request for information to be sent out, the client (user) must know where to send the request. Networks require a way–a route–for communication to occur. To test this route, a user can simply type the command ping 18.104.22.168 in their command prompt/terminal, which will reveal the number of hops (distance) it took from the user’s device to access google.com. An IP address– which information systems use to provide logical context for a resource–is translated into google.com for human understanding and usage. This also serves to test if there are any communication issues but also visualize the route it takes to get there. The same was done via Linux command ‘ding’ to test Facebook’s operability during the outage, as depicted in the graphic below.