We have an update to our earlier story about the worldwide Facebook outages September 23/24 called #FacebookDown. That attack was attributed to unnamed and as-yet-unidentified hacktivists by Pirate Party activist and Cryptosphere contributor Raymond Johansen, and to an unheard-of collective called #FuckSociety by Jordanian Twitter user Mahmoud Abuttayeb.
While we have been unable to find reports that Facebook was down inside China proper or Russia over the period of #FacebookDown, sources in Hong Kong and Taiwan have confirmed outages in their locales. Other sources confirm outages in Africa and South America, North America, the Middle East, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and Europe.
A quick look at the attack map at IPViking/Norse showed that over the period in question, China was, as per usual, the #1 country of origin for online attacks, with the United States as the #1 recipient of attacks. The activity level displayed was not particularly high, except intermittently, when a large and powerful attack would hit the US, apparently originating in the vicinity of Palau, a string of tiny islands more noted for tourism than cyberwar. That attack location was almost certainly spoofed.
Note the date of that tweet: in that case, back in January of 2015, forces within China were apparently trying to suppress social sharing of the #UmbrellaRevolution in Hong Kong. They used some creative techniques to do more than a simple DDoS attack. Facebook claimed it was mere technical difficulties, a server misconfiguration, which, of course they did.
And it wasn’t the first time Chinese attackers had taken action against Facebook:
That attack was from June of 2014, and again, the outage lasted about 30 minutes, as with the January 2015 attack and also the September 2015 outage. We also noticed a smaller, but significant, attack on July 18, 2014. According to TheStreet, “Facebook is missing out on the potential for a loss of slightly more than $1.7 million in advertising-centric revenue for every hour the website and app are not working.” Additionally, they reported that Facebook shares were down 0.67% for the day.
Three attacks, each with Chinese fingerprints. Each lasting about a half an hour. Each against the same target.
When you hear hoofprints, think horses, not zebras.