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 Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers.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

Support Films For Action

Films For Action empowers citizens with the information we need to help create a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

We receive no government or corporate funding and rely on our supporters to keep us going. Donate today.

Trending Today
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga22,288 views today ·
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine5,090 views today ·
How Romanticism Ruined Love
5 min2,670 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min1,989 views today ·
Gabor Mate: Toxic Culture - How Materialistic Society Makes Us Ill
30 min1,439 views today ·
The Mobilizing Passions of Fascism (2017)
26 min1,345 views today ·
10 Female Revolutionaries That You Probably Didn't Learn About In History class
Kathleen Harris1,089 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick908 views today ·
I Promise, It's Not Lame to Ask a Woman for Permission
Dave Booda778 views today ·
Load More
Join us on Facebook
Egypt Turns Off Internet Amidst Protests