For about 45 minutes on Tuesday this week, both Facebook and Instagram suffered an outage. This immediately sparked rumors that the site had been attacked by hackers, and indeed, a hacker group called Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the site crash. However, Facebook denied an attack had taken place and instead said the outage occurred because of an internal configuration change on the site.
Lizard Squad, the group allegedly behind the holiday season attacks on Xbox Live and the Playstation network, claimed in a tweet that they had attacked Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, AIM and Hipchat. There were scattered reports that those services also crashed on Tuesday, and while that would seem to indicate that an actual hack did occur, The Verge smartly pointed out that those services could have easily been disrupted by problems with Facebook’s identity services.
Even though Facebook’s outage had nothing to do with cyber criminals and only lasted for less than an hour, the site’s crash is a starling reminder of the extent to which many websites rely on Facebook and its technology. From its log-in extension featured on many prominent websites to the previously-mentioned identity services, Facebook is almost completely intertwined with the fabric of the Internet. It might be just one site, but when it goes down, it can take a lot of the web down with it.