9 minute readFacebook Failure: Effects Connectivity Has on Everyday Life
How IT Affects Life, Even Social Media
Just last week, on October 4th, we were all in the middle of posting on our favorite social media accounts when everything went dark. This outage included Facebook and all of their subsidiaries including Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and more. If you were lucky, an error message popped up telling you that “Something went wrong.” It was like that for much of the day, with little explanation as to what happened to the world’s largest community.
What’s worse, the outage also impacted single sign-on too so anyone trying to log into another account with their FB login credentials also could not get past the block. The entire world went haywire because of one major platform, Facebook, suddenly was silent. Social Media is ingrained in our lives now; many of us revolve around it. Well, it turns out the cause of this was an issue with an errant configuration command, which was meant to check server capacity, that accidentally severed the connection between servers and data centers worldwide. These connections being so well-protected that even Facebook’s engineers struggled to get through the security and get them back online.
IT affects our lives, more now than ever before. And on a busy Monday in October, a simple glitch caused global havoc.
What are DNS servers and BGP?
To fully understand IT, let’s give a brief intro to the backbone of what Internet Technology is. IT begins with DNS servers and BGP. What they stand for is not that important, but what they do is. They are the infrastructure that completes the highway that is the internet.
- Domain Name System Servers – When you want to go somewhere on the internet, you input a URL in the address bar. Then after you press enter, the DNS is the magic decoder ring that converts your text URL into an IP Address and hunts down the servers storing the data you are searching for.
- Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) – To put it simply, BGP is the postal service of the internet. It is tasked with getting the information entered to its destination the quickest and on the best route.
Both the DNS Server and BGP work hand in hand, quite literally. The DNS server hands off the command to the BGP and takes the user to the website a user wants to go to. But how safe is this process, and how secure are our networks? What do we do when issues arise with Internet Technology? What happens when there is a breakdown like we saw? We can see how much of a disaster it can be when these postal systems and addresses go down. As Bob Dylan said, “I tried to send a message but … The post office has been stolen – and the mailbox is lost.” The solution, as Facebook and Instagram found, was only resolved by having people on site that could fix it in person inside their data center. As there was no way to deliver messages remotely, someone had to go in and perform the work in person.
IT Issues and Network Authentication
Security has become a hot topic. With over 54 million people affected by T Mobile’s data breach in August, people need to have the assurance that their information is protected. Identity is an essential part of the process. Network Authentication is the process of confirming that a user is who they say they are. There are many authentication methods a user can use to verify their identity.
- Password – The most common method of a username and password. To give strengthen these, there are many methods, such as using an uncommon character like a “&” or “#” symbol. But passwords can be broken, either through data leaks or by social engineering, which is why other methods have come into play.
- Two-factor (2FA) – This method is in addition to your username and password. It is an extra layer of security—a time-sensitive password is sent to an email address or authenticator app. After you enter this passkey, you can access your program or device.
- Token – This method uses an external item such as a dongle to be connected to a USB port, or a radio-frequency enabled smart card to bypass security measures.
- Biometric – One method uses the human body to bypass security. Fingerprints, retinal scans, and voice recognition are a few methods used.
- Transaction or Computer Recognition – When the system notices an attempt to access it from an unrecognized location, it will trigger an additional verification step.
- CAPTCHA – A method to determine the user is human through a test to identify letters or images they see.
Authentication methods ensure that information is protected. Everything from bank accounts to social media sessions are now secured through network authentication. Our everyday life is impacted. Some of us see it as an inconvenience, until the day when it is needed.
This authentication is necessary to protect ourselves, but as we see with the Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram outage, sometimes we lock ourselves out of our own car. At this point the only solution is to call a specialist.
IT Issues and Social Media
Internet technology is behind all of these protections we rely on. Sites like Facebook rely on the internet working at all times. One break down, and as we witnessed, the entire thing shuts down. The reason for the six-hour silence was the loss of connection to their DNS server. As we have learned, if you want to go anywhere on the internet, you need to have your DNS server working. Once the issue was resolved, everyone was back to their accounts and sharing the life-altering experience they all just went through. Being Prepared for the Future of IT IssuesInternet issues go beyond what happened on that Monday. It is more than a simple social media blackout. It exposes us to a greater need to have a plan in place for something greater. A simple system upgrade, as Facebook called it, could cause a system-wide shutdown. You want to be prepared for it.
- Have a plan in place. Talk with your on-site administrator. What is your current plan for such contingencies? If one does not exist, create one.
- Know your current situation. Where are you in terms of your upgrade status? When is the next one due? What systems does it impact? Are you prepared for it?
- Have a partner who is there when the unthinkable happens. Who will be there to help you should the unthinkable happen? How quickly will the response time be?
Reliant Technology Offers All These Solutions and More.
Having contingencies in place will prepare your company’s internet infrastructure. You will not experience the sudden loss of connection like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp did on Monday. You won’t have a simple upgrade turn your company’s and customer’s day into a nightmare, and loss of productivity and possible business.OptionsWhen issues with IT affect your life, you need answers. You can watch it happen to other companies and shake it off, or use it as a learning experience and search for where your weak points are and fix them. A Third-Party Maintenance (TPM) provider can offer great backup support.
A TPM provider like Reliant Technology, is a great backup plan, in that they offer SLA-4-hour response time. This means when under contract, Reliant promises to respond in 4 hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.IT issues will continue to occur, whether it’s a social media snafu or an OEM warranty expiring. It is good to know that you have a TPM provider like Reliant Technology in your corner.
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Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.
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About Reliant Technology
As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.