Industry News

Lizard Squad blamed for Facebook downtime. Facebook says “Err.. no”

Hacking gang jokers Lizard Squad appeared to be taking credit for Facebook and Instagram falling off the web earlier today, but you – and the media – shouldn’t be too quick to believe them.

In a tweet the notorious hacking crew, who previously attacked XBox Live and PlayStation Network gaming services over Christmas, referenced the the problems being experienced by various social networks earlier today.

And it’s true that for 40 minutes or so several social networking sites were knocked offline, and leaving millions of Facebook addicts without their daily diet of Like-clicking.


But was the tweet *really* claiming that Lizard Squad was responsible?

It certainly was enough for the likes of Fox News, Russia Today and other media outlets to crowbar Lizard Squad into its headlines, but it appears to be falling short somewhat of an admission of responsibility.


Yes, Lizard Squad’s tweet was mischievous – especially considering their past attacks – but it seems the media is guilty of jumping the gun.

Because Facebook has said that the fault was entirely its own fault.

A spokeswoman told the BBC that the disruption to normal services was the result of an internal change that went wrong:

“Earlier this evening many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram. This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.”

Tinder, the popular dating app for people too scared to approach potential partners face-to-face, was also impacted, as were AIM, Hipchat and (not that anyone was likely to notice) MySpace.

Maybe there’s a lesson to learn here? Perhaps we should all take brief breaks from social networking and hooking-up dating apps to go out and chat to people in real life?

That would certainly win the vote of Alistair Coleman, who tweeted one of the more humourous responses I saw to Facebook’s downtime:

“While Facebook was down, I nailed a picture of my breakfast to a tree outside our house. Seven people have knocked to say they liked it.”

About the author


Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats.

Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment
  • “Tinder, the popular dating app for people too scared to approach potential partners face-to-face”

    While I personally don’t use Tinder, that remark is extremely ignorant, arrogant and fairly offensive…