Hackers Or A Cascading Bug – What Brought Down Twitter?

By now you must all be aware of yesterday’s Twitter outage. The micro-blogging site was unavailable for almost two hours in countries spanning the globe due to two service outages. We first noticed something was wrong here in the SocialSafe office just after 5pm BST, and when some of our Facebook fans responded to our post about the problem we realised it wasn’t just a local glitch.

So what caused the problem? Well, a hacker who calls herself Cosmo from the group UG Nazi – previously affiliated with LulzSec – immediately claimed the she was responsible for the bring down the site via a basic DDoS attack. She said:

“It wasn’t really difficult at all, I myself honestly thought Twitter would be more protected from a DDoS Attack, but I guess not.”

However in a blog post, Mazen Rawashdeh – Twitter’s vice president of engineering – issued an apology and explained that it was a “cascading bug” that caused the outage:

“A cascading bug is one with an effect that isn’t confined to a particular software element, but rather its effect “cascades” into other elements as well. One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today. As soon as we discovered it, we took corrective actions, which included rolling back to a previous stable version of Twitter.”

He also defended Twitter’s previous reliability record over the last six months:

“For the past six months, we’ve enjoyed our highest marks for site reliability and stability ever: at least 99.96% and often 99.99%. In simpler terms, this means that in an average 24-hour period, twitter.com has been stable and available to everyone for roughly 23 hours, 59 minutes and 40-ish seconds.”

We’re you adversely affected by the outage? Or did you backup your Twitter account content with SocialSafe?


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