Egypt Turns Off Internet Amidst Protests
Egypt Turns Off Internet Amidst Protests
By James Cowie / ww.renesys.com
Jan 28, 2011

Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers. Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow. The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.

What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up. We will continue to dig into the event, and will update this story as we learn more. As Friday dawns in Cairo under this unprecedented communications blackout, keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts.

Update (3:06 UTC)

One of the very few exceptions to this block has been Noor Group (AS20928), which still has 83 out of 83 live routes to its Egyptian customers, with inbound transit from Telecom Italia as usual. Why was Noor Group apparently unaffected by the countrywide takedown order? Unknown at this point, but we observe that the Egyptian Stock Exchange (www.egyptse.com) is still alive at a Noor address.

Its DNS A records indicate that it's normally reachable at 4 different IP addresses, only one of which belongs to Noor. Internet transit path diversity is a sign of good planning by the Stock Exchange IT staff, and it appears to have paid off in this case. Did the Egyptian government leave Noor standing so that the markets could open next week?

4.0 ·
1


Love Films For Action? 

Films For Action empowers citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

If you feel like you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today. Every little bit helps.

Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min3,088 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley2,823 views today ·
Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education
Peter Gray, Ph.D.1,175 views today ·
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran919 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick729 views today ·
5 Reasons to Build a Network of Small Groups, Rather Than a Mass Movement of Individuals
Richard D. Bartlett650 views today ·
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga591 views today ·
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action436 views today ·
Adventurmentalism: Ecotherapy for Suicide Survivors (2016)
36 min428 views today ·
Load More
Join us on Facebook
Egypt Turns Off Internet Amidst Protests