As you may know, Facebook is a pretty big, international site. So, when it goes down, it's kind of a big deal. At least on Twitter. It happened this week for a lot of people. The explanation for what happened is a bit complicated, so I've created bullet points. Stay with me, here.
- There is a very famous group of hackers online called "Anonymous." No, that's not a joke.
- A different group of hackers, claiming to be "Anonymous" put a video on YouTube threatening to take down Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day. We don't know who that group of hackers were. They were anonymous, but not THE "Anonymous." Are you with me, so far?
- The real "Anonymous" hacktivists (that's short for activst hackers) denounced the threat, and Facebook has called it a hoax, but the reports about story were confusing, and much of the world did not realize that Guy Fawkes Day isn't until November.
- En Masse, Facebook users all over the world began to log in when they normally wouldn't have been logging in just to see if the site was still up and if their stuff was still there. Facebook's servers beccame overloaded, and that, combined with a few other issues put an incredible strain on Facebook's servers, making the site unavailabe to many - effectively bringing the site down this week, instead of in November.
There are some reports indicating that the anonymous hackers who originally made the threat may have been a disenfranchised splinter of the original "Anonymous" hackers, but no one seems to know for sure.
I was explaining all of this to my mother, who does not own a computer today, and she just shook her head and said, I don't see who "won" anything in all of this. I don't either. People who depend on Facebook being up to earn money from ad revenue lost. People who are used to communicating via Facebook lost. The hackers were semi-successful but only by accident, and no one even really knows who they are.
This whole event should be a contender for that list of "stupid criminals" that goes around every year. I think we've all learned an important lesson here, although I'm not sure what it is.
Have a good weekend, everyone! And remember, Guy Fawkes Day is in November. Just FYI.