Egypt Unplugs From the Internet

Engineers at consultancy Renesys Corp. say they've confirmed that Egypt has all but disconnected from the Internet. The action came on the eve of what was expected to be a day of escalated anti-government rioting.

In addition, the country's mobile operators have been instructed to suspend services in certain parts of the country reports Reuters.

Initial reports of Internet disruptions supposedly came from a site called The Arabist (unreachable at press time), and the news was spread by outlets including The Huffington Post.

As Renesys's blog puts it:

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time [in Egypt]), 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 Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers.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.

Not every Internet connection in Egypt is down. As commenters on Renesys's blog noted, the ISP hosting Egypt's stock exchange was still up. A quick check showed that the stock exchange, Nilex, could be reached as of 12:20 a.m. Eastern, albeit slowly.

It's assumed that the Egyptian government shut itself off from the Internet on purpose, but there's been no confirmation so far as to exactly what happened. Light Reading will update this story as events warrant.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:14:20 PM
re: Egypt Unplugs From the Internet

Looks like mobile and SMS were shut down, too. Doesn't seem to have affected the protests, judging from reports.

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:14:15 PM
re: Egypt Unplugs From the Internet

Vodafone said it restored voice services on Saturday. Here's the statement from Vodafone about the situation:

"Vodafone restored voice services to our customers in Egypt this morning, as soon as we were able.

We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers. 
It has been clear to us that there were no legal or practical options open to Vodafone, or any of the mobile operators in Egypt, but to comply with the demands of the authorities. 

Moreover, our other priority is the safety of our employees and any actions we take in Egypt will be judged in light of their continuing wellbeing."

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