Although LinkedIn seems to have resolved an apparently insignificant issue, a simple scratching the surface reveals a much graver picture. What really happened? A Tweet from Bryan Berg (cofounder of App.net) followed by user complaints and a subsequent tweet by LinkedIn confirmed that the site was down for at least an hour. This wasn’t a simple website issue but a bug that impacted and still seems to impact thousands of users worldwide. A DNS issue was reported where the traffic from LinkedIn was being re-routed to a network hosted by Confluence Networks. This wasn’t merely a traffic diversion but a hijack (as reported, as soon as this issue erupted), but an issue that possibly sent your session cookies as text files to the site.  In response to this controversy, Confluence Networks took 2 measures: first, it removed its contact numbers for India and second, it put up this statement: “Starting few hours ago, we received reports about some sites (including linkedin.com) pointing to IPs allotted to our ranges. We are in touch with the affected parties & our customer to identify the root cause of this event. Note that it has already been verified that this issue was caused due to a human error and there was NO security related issue caused by the same. More details will be provided shortly.” So did this only concern LinkedIn? Not exactly! Read on after the jump to follow our exclusive analysis.

Bryan Berg (Cofounder of App.Net) was the first to tweet this issue. He used critical terms like ‘DNS hijack’, ‘don’t require SSL’, ‘your browser sent your long-lived session cookies in plain text’. In simple terms, the huge amount of traffic LinkedIn enjoys was re-routed to an unsecure environment where personal records were stored as plain text. Feel the impact?

Berg Points Out LinkedIn Hijack

LinkedIn tweeted its own version of the story saying that the ‘issue’ was being resolved and inferring from the tone, ‘there’s nothing to worry about”.

LinkedIn Our site is now recovering

According to news website and reports, the site was down only for an hour but analyzing the situation deeply tells us that LinkedIn went down, then up, then down again. As seen through DownRightNow, the status history reveals the firefight that is taking place behind the screens.

LinkedIn status at downrightnow

With the negative PR understandable, there is a significant debate going on between users and experts alike regarding the nature of the issue. According to the latest reports, this was not a hack but a bug or an error at the DNS level. Read through the interesting tweets, we’ve selected for you.

Linkedin Down

In conclusion, two tweets sum up the entire story (mind it, this is a developing story). Matthew Prince (the CEO of Cloudfare) has highlighted that this is a much more serious issue than previously thought with other websites like Fidelity, Yelp and more feeling the heat, too. This observation has been reaffirmed by David Ulevitch (CEO, OpenDNS).

Matthew Prince Twitter

David Ulevitch CEO OpenDNS Tweet

What do you think of this issue? Let us know by writing your opinion in the comment box below.