Egypt Loses the Internet

Updated January 31: Added graph and discussion of remaining active paths

Following a week of growing protests and periodic telecommunication disruption, Egypt suddenly lost all Internet connectivity at approximately 5:20pm EST Thursday.

The below graph shows traffic to and from Egypt based on ATLAS data from 80 providers around the world.

Between 3 and 5pm EST, Egyptian traffic rapidly climbed to several Gigabits. At 5:20pm, the all Egyptian transit providers abruptly withdrew the major of Egypt’s several thousand BGP routes and traffic dropped to a handful of megabits per second.

At present, the cause of the outage is unknown though many press reports have drawn parallels to the Internet outages following Iranian political protests during the summer of 2009. Further, the simultaneous failure of Internet across multiple different Egyptian ISPs and diverse physical paths (i.e. satellite, fiber optic, etc) suggests this was a coordinated event rather than a natural failure. Typically, telecommunication companies operate under strict regulatory control in many countries around the world.

As of Monday (January 31), Egypt remains disconnected from the Internet. A week view of traffic in and out of Egypt below.

Normally, Egypt enjoys one of the largest and most robust Internet infrastructures in Africa with a dozen major providers, more than 30% consumer penetration, and multiple high-speed paths to Europe and the rest of the world. Egypt also serves as a major terrestrial fiber optic crossing point for traffic to other countries in Africa and the Middle East. Traffic to other countries using these links through Egypt has not been impacted.

While the Egyptian telecommunication market has enjoyed significant liberalization in the last decade, the Egyptian government Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) continues to assert a strong level of regulatory control over the telecom licensees. See http://www.tra.gov.eg for more information (although the TRA web site is currently unreachable outside Egypt).

22 Responses to “Egypt Loses the Internet”

January 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm, Eintrag "The revolution will not be twittered – Ägypten nahezu offline." auf Webrocker said:

[…] via wired threadlevel | Bild: Arbor Networks […]

January 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm, Tweets that mention Egypt Loses the Internet | Security to the Core | Arbor Networks Security -- Topsy.com said:

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by linseykrauss, Nicole Shepard, Taryn Westerkamp, Christine Simeone, Taryn Westerkamp and others. Taryn Westerkamp said: More insight from @arbornetworks and @labovit: Egypt Loses the Internet http://bit.ly/eaXsne#Egypt […]

January 29, 2011 at 4:27 am, The Sudanese Guardian: Egypt Internet blackout continuous amidst fierce demonstration said:

[…] source:  /blog/asert/2011/01/egypt-loses-the-internet/ […]

January 29, 2011 at 7:02 am, HEARTS at MINDS !? said:

Ägypten offline…

Nachdem in Ägypten zuerst „nur“ Twitter und Facebook unerreichbar waren, ist das Land nun vom kompletten Internet und auch Mobilfunknetzwerken abgeschnitten, ein in diesem Ausmaß bisher einmaliger staatlicher Eingriff. Image: Courtesy of Al Jazeera Für…

January 29, 2011 at 8:26 am, Die Rolle von Facebook im ägyptischen Volksaufstand – Das Blog zum Buch said:

[…] Geschichte “beispiellos” sei, wie es seitens der Security-Firma Renesys heißt. Eine Grafik der Security-Firma Arbor Network zeigt, wie der Internet-Verkehr in Ägypten von einer Minute auf die nächste dramatisch abriss. […]

January 29, 2011 at 10:43 am, What is that graphic? said:

Interesting graphic, please fire the graphic designer who thought it was a good idea to put tiny white text over a light lime green – COMPLETELY UNREADABLE. Great job.

January 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm, Egitto: è rivolta, e il governo censura la rete | La Raccolta said:

[…] La compagnia di network securityArbor Networksha creato un grafico esplicativo del black out utilizzando i dati di 80 provider in tutto il […]

January 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm, The Global Awakening vs. The Internet Kill Switch – Sunday Update « said:

[…] Egypt Loses the Internet – Asert.ArborNetworks.com […]

January 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm, Ideas Illustrated » Blog Archive » The Revolution Will Not Be Televised … But It Will Be Tweeted said:

[…] Source: Arbor Networks […]

January 31, 2011 at 7:58 am, Egito e a internet | Peregrino Mutante said:

[…] Encontrei aqui: – /blog/asert/2011/01/egypt-loses-the-internet/ […]

January 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm, The Egypt Revolution and Social Media | SiliconANGLE said:

[…] of Egypt. If this was not enough, cellular networks were also blocked. The following graph from arbor networks shows the dead tone of Internet traffic from […]

January 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm, Handling Online Criticism & The Egypt Internet Shutdown said:

[…] abilities to communicate across the Internet as well as the mounting chaos in the streets.(Source: Arbor Networks)When a business owner sees an undesirable review about them, it most likely will upset them. Some […]

February 02, 2011 at 1:35 pm, Tunisie, Egypte 2011: Révolutions.Un.C’est tout! (part 2) « MOBACTU / by @loallard said:

[…] d’alerte et conseil juridique en cas d’arrestations. Mais en raison du blocage des réseaux de télécommunications Internet et mobile par le gouvernement deux jours après la manifestation de masse contre le régime du 25 […]

February 05, 2011 at 5:11 pm, Demokratie in Ägypten: Traum oder Wirklichkeit? Teil 3: divide et impera, die Strategien und Mittel des Machterhalts said:

[…] und Mobil­funk­ver­kehrs und des Fern­se­hens Am Vor­abend des 28. Januar wurde durch die Abschal­tung des Inter­nets und Mobil­funks ver­sucht, den Kom­mu­ni­ka­ti­ons­fluss der Demons­tran­ten und […]

February 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm, MOBACTU / by @loallard said:

[…] d’alerte et conseil juridique en cas d’arrestations. Mais en raison du blocage des réseaux de télécommunications Internet et mobile par le gouvernement deux jours après la manifestation de masse contre le régime du 25 […]

February 18, 2011 at 2:56 am, Fleshing out the ideas said:

[…] Egypt Disconnect […]

February 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm, A Little Bit of Egyptian Internet Twaddle « Alternate Seat of TYR said:

[…] First up, at least in some senses, it may be valid to say that the Internet played a role – Arbor Networks observed that traffic to and from Egyptian networks (and between them, in so far as any of them are […]

February 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm, Middle East Internet Scorecard (February 12 – 20) | Security to the Core | Arbor Networks Security said:

[…] Considered Harmful!Egypt Loses the InternetOn DDoS Attack ActivityISP Security BOF @NANOG 39February 2007 Root Server Attacks – A […]

February 23, 2011 at 6:57 am, Occasionally Useful said:

[…] A startling graphic showing the effect of Egypt’s censorship of the internet during the unrest from Arbor Networks. Read the full story behind the events here. […]

March 23, 2011 at 6:02 am, When Egypt turned the internet off. A startling graphic showing the effec | Occasionally Useful said:

[…] A startling graphic showing the effect of Egypt’s censorship of the internet during the unrest from Arbor Networks. Read the full story behind the events here. […]

March 23, 2011 at 2:15 am, Mobile Warfare « Il Blog di Paolo Passeri said:

[…] But it was with the #Jan25 and #Egypt tweets that the World discovered for the first time the power of the mobile warfare.  In those dramatic days every single person of the planet only needed to access her Twitter account in order to become a virtual witness of the events; dramatic facts reported in great detail by hundreds of extemporaneous reporters “armed” only with a Smartphone, and made available in real time to the rest of the world thanks to the “six degrees of separation allowed by Social Networks”. The strength and the impact of this mobile warfare were so huge to force the declining Egyptian Government to shut the internet off for several days starting from January, the 27th. […]

March 25, 2011 at 6:48 am, Operation Odyssey Dawn explained (Day 6) « David Cenciotti's weblog said:

[…] Withouth considering the problem of the authentication of the improvised JTAC (Joint terminal attack controller)  – what if the account broadcasting the coordinates of the Gaddafi forces is not owned by a rebel, but used by a loyalist to deceive the coalition planes and to induce them to drop their bombs on the revolutionaries? -  those tweets draw a new scenario (the one of smartphones with integrated GPS and Internet connectivity to forward targeting details) and move the fights between rebels and loyalist forces into the cyber battlespace where to different requirements are in deep contrast: on the rebel side, the need to use Internet to communicate and launch messages, on the opposite one, the need to prevent them from using the Web with service disruptions, DoS (Denial of Service) attacks againsts Free Libya websites etc., something similar to what happened during the Egypt uprising, as recalled by the ICT Security expert Paolo Passeri that in his recent article “Mobile Warfare” explains: “it was…with the #Jan25 and #Egypt tweets that the World discovered for the first time the power of the mobile warfare. In those dramatic days every single person of the planet only needed to access her Twitter account in order to become a virtual witness of the events; dramatic facts reported in great detail by hundreds of extemporaneous reporters “armed” only with a Smartphone, and made available in real time to the rest of the world thanks to the “six degrees of separation allowed by Social Networks. The strength and the impact of this mobile warfare were so huge to force the declining Egyptian Government to shut the internet off for several days starting from January, the 27th” […]

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