Arik Hasseldahl of the website AllThingsD.com reports on a troubling development from Syria:
The research firm Renesys, which keeps track of the status and health of the technical underpinnings of the Internet around the world, just reported that at 10:26 UTC this morning — which, by my watch, would have been 5:26 am ET — effectively all of Syria’s international Internet connectivity shut down.
More technically, what happened was that within the global routing table, all 84 blocks of IP addresses assigned to Syria have gone unreachable. That means that Internet traffic destined for that country is going undelivered, and also that traffic coming from within it cannot get out to the world.
The Associated Press reports that cellular service has also been disabled in many areas, explaining:
The Syrian government shut down the Internet across the country and cut cell phone services in select areas Thursday as rebels and government troops waged fierce battles near the capital’s airport, wounding two Austrian peacekeepers and forcing international airlines to suspend flights, activists said.
The article goes on to explain that Syrian spokespeople are denying that the outage is national, saying that technicians are working to repair the problems.
Syria has previously seen large outages in July and August this year, each lasting less than an hour and only affecting targeted areas.
During the uprising in Egypt, four major internet service providers were cut off in the country during mass protests against the then-President Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptians quickly found ways around the blocks, and Google introduced a “speak-to-tweet” service which allowed people to connect to Twitter via the telephone.
In Libya, internet blackouts were common in areas that were at the time still controlled by Colonel Gaddafi.
The exact method being used to cut off the internet in Syria is unknown, one security expert said, but there are clues.
“It looks like they are using the same approach as Libya did,” explained Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro.