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Government The Internet Censorship Communications Your Rights Online

Syria Drops Off the Internet Grid 156

hypnosec writes "Amidst the ongoing civil war, Syria has gone off the Internet as of a few hours ago, with all the 84 IP block within the country unreachable from the outside. Renesys, a research firm keeping tabs on the health of the Internet, reported at about 5:25 ET that Syria's Internet connectivity has been shut down. The internet traffic from outside to Syrian IP addresses is going undelivered, and anything coming from within the country is not reaching the Internet. Akamai has tweeted that its traffic data supports what Renesys has observed." Reader trickstyhobbit adds a report from Slate that the connection "appear[s] to have been knocked off line by heavy fighting earlier this morning. They are also reporting that the shutdown may have been intentional to aid in a government operation."
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Syria Drops Off the Internet Grid

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:04PM (#42132249)

    Maybe Syria doesn't need to come back, or if it does, maybe not with a full block. IPv4 addresses are valuable!

  • Time to unplug the router, wait a few seconds, and plug it in again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:10PM (#42132323)

    A communication disruption can only mean one thing.

  • This prolly means that the regime ( the Assad one ) is in their last ditches, and fighting the eponymous fight. Soon, some rebel fraction is going to take over in Syria. Some of whom may be heavily bearded men who think that democracy is filth. And so on, and so on...
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      The eponymous fight?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The fight other fights are named after. Yes, this is the worst misuse of the word "eponymous" on the internet. Congratulations are in order.

        • Actually I thought he meant it was "A Sad" fight...which would make eponymous usage correct, although the spelling suspect.
          But then I tend to give people the benefit...
      • I assumed it meant "Assad's Last Stand", or something like that.
    • Re:Mark my words: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:41PM (#42132779) Homepage Journal

      Some of whom may be heavily bearded men who think that democracy is filth.

      Democracy is filth - people cannot be trusted to run a non-corrupt one (c.f. The Law []). Of course, Theocracy is not better.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This has nothing to do with the form of government. It doesn't matter. Democracy, dictatorship, theocracy, hell even anarchy all suffer from the same problem. They are all made up of human beings. Human beings are inherently evil. They excel at dominating over others whenever the opportunity exists to selfishly indulge in their incessent need to have more than the other guy. In my opinion democracy is the least harmful option. It's held in check by a wider group of individuals who don't like to be sc

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Which is why man's right to swing their fist ends at another man's nose. Collectivism/Democracy is corrupt because it dictates the use of force against a minority.
          True democracy is not compatible with freedom, which is why we do not have a true democracy in the United States. The government is supposed to be there to defend the freedoms of man.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Deus Ex (and quite similarly, Douglas Adams) has provided the most important insight into politics. Anyone who desires power is unfit to have it.
        In Deus Ex, the solution was to have an overkill-grade AI run the menial tasks and act as a form of uninvolved arbiter to a (up to) planet-wide direct democracy (depending on the scope of the disagreement).
        In the Hitchhiker's Guide, the solution was to erase the memories of anyone who manages to get elected president of the galaxy.

      • Re:Mark my words: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Thursday November 29, 2012 @03:36PM (#42133573) Homepage Journal

        “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

        -Winston Churchill

        • "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

          Yes, the trick is how to get people to be allowed to try other methods when all the land on Earth is claimed by groups that profess exclusive ownership.

          The Tannehills [] had some intriguing proposals in the 1970's. Bob Murphy has expanded on some of those.

          They might not all work, but one thing is for sure - if nobody is allowed to try other methods, a superior method will never be found. Many people s

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Asking democracies to democratically give up democracy is a logical paradox.

            No, it isn't. How do you think Hitler got into power? You need to learn what a logical paradox actually is.

          • i'm sorry, but that's some really ignorant crap you believe

            the only valid form of government is a form of government that submits itself to the will of the people it rules. self rule. it doesn't get better than that. now there can be a better KIND of democracy, i buy that, like say virtual democracy. virtual democracy has problems, but i'm willing to believe there's still a better form of democracy out there

            but what i don't buy are these bullshit concepts where government is somehow dissolved and everything

            • Wow, you're really so angry you can't hit the shift key, aren't you?

              Maybe that's a sign that you're arguing from a position of weakness, defending a belief rather than a defensible system?

              If you truly believe that there must always be majorities who oppress minorities, then surely that is a sad outlook (or psychopathic, depending on how Psych101 one wants to get). People need governance, but aggression-based governments do that really poorly. Ponder the distinction.

              Try specific critiques of the Tannehills

              • if you have to deal with enough morons like you, it gets very tedious

                i'm not going to argue with you, because it's like arguing with a creationist. same fervent belief and desire in the impossible and willful ignorance of the most basic concepts of reality

                just shut up, please, for your own sake

          • See especially JP Hogan's Voyage From Yesteryear: []

            BTW, some social semantic desktop ideas to consider for Tonika (but in Java): []

            Something to cosider on social organziation: []
            "To make things worse, the solution to this is not simply to begin adding meshwork components to the mix. Indeed, one must resist the temptation to make hierarchies into villains and me

  • route around it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:18PM (#42132431)

    For those of you who think the internet is some magically self-healing construct immune to accidental or intentional disconnection of nodes and subnetworks, this should serve to show that if you aren't in charge over the physical infrastructure, you are at the mercy of those who are.

    • it's okay, the internet can recover from a nuclear attack. As soon as somebody uses a nuke the internet will heal itself.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:39PM (#42132745) Homepage Journal

      It was supposed to be that, but through a combination of governments that can't seem to keep their fingers off and corporations determined to bill for every penny's worth even if it costs a dollar to do it, the net has been turned into a series of single points of failure.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, because of people's gullibility and preference for short term convenience over long term security and reliability, people have repeatedly chosen centralised services provided via the internet over distributed services that the internet used to be built upon.

        Intersite email has been replaced with gmail and conglomerate isp services, distributed news and mailing lists (usenet etc) have lost against facebook, slashdot and other shite. Uucp, ftp, and internet nfs have all been abandoned in favor of services

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          It doesn't matter one whit if services are centralized or distributed if you're cut off into a little island of networks. People in Syria won't be looking at your flickr pages today. You also won't be emailing them your pictures today. You can post 'em on usenet if you like, but nobody in Syria is going to see them until the single point of failure is fixed. You won't be seeing any pictures they post up to a local usenet server either.

          The distributed services model WOULD work better iff there actually was a

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      one or two co-located cables is the weakness. multiple connections in multiple places (ie redundancy) is key to that self-healing effect.

      • by gorzek ( 647352 )

        Yup. If there's only one line going in or out of the country, it's easy to sever that and cut it off completely. Same if you have only two, or three, or ten.

        Well, what if you have hundreds, or thousands? Good luck shutting all those down!

        (Of course, you can also ruin things by polluting DNS and BGP.)

    • The Internet is self-healing to the extent that the infrastructure allows. However, Libya only has what, all of three underground cables connecting them to the rest of the world? [] It's pretty easy to disconnect a country from the global Internet if said country lacks the redundancy of multiple global connection points.
    • When I hear talk about the U.S. wanting a "kill switch" for the internet (in case of cyber attacks), I think of situations like this.

      Maybe the U.S. isn't going to have a revolution anytime soon, people should not allow their governments to cut them off from the rest of the world. If the government wants to protect itself in the event of cyber attacks, then create a kill switch for *essential* government connection to the internet. The private sector and smaller less essential government organizations shou

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. There are only a handful of Tier-1 providers [] globally. How hard would it be to the USG to have them all shut down if it really wanted to?

      • And how many ISPs would suddenly get a lot more open in their peering policies if the option of using a teir 1 as a route of last resort went away?

        I think to really "shut down the internet" the US would at least have to get the europeans to play along.

    • by jovius ( 974690 )

      But the internet does route around Syria.

      • Or rather it didn't route through it in the first place.

        In europe and north america we have networks of overland fibers because we have sufficient political stability that people aren't worried that their links run through intervening countries. If germany or france (or even the netherlands) shut down all internet links it would cause a LOT of pain for internet users in europe and to a lesser extent across the world but noone is seriously worried about that happening.

        OTOH in less stable parts of the world

  • by HPHatecraft ( 2748003 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:35PM (#42132693)

    of my favorite (most hated) phrase: "The [I]nternet is down(1!1!)".

    I usually think to myself "yes, the entire Internet. Gone. The bastards finally did it".

    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      It can also mean the router is lying on the floor or the computer is downstair. Languages are so ambiguous!
  • If you can get a working land line, there is always Dialup Providers you could call. Better than nothing I suppose, especially if its an emergency.
  • by Mephistophocles ( 930357 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:39PM (#42132749) Homepage
    Syrian government has been threatening cutoff [] for a while. My money says this is no accident.
    • No internet makes it easier to recreate the success of the 1981 attack on Hama [] again if they think it is needed, while suppressing news about it. You may want to recall Hama the next time you read some claim about how ruthless the Israelis are for killing a dozen Arabs trying to blow them up.

  • DAMMIT! (Score:4, Funny)

    by AuralityKev ( 1356747 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:40PM (#42132765)
  • I'm surprised areas like this don't have satellite coverage. I live in the middle of nowhere in New York and my satellite connection pops out in Colorado. We have a backup generator and all so when folks 15 miles away have no internet (they can all get cable/DSL) or power we don't even notice. I would think that if there was satellites in line of sight someone should hook themselves up to this and pop out in Italy or something. As long as you can generate power there is no problem staying online. I'm su
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      Syria almost certainly does have Internet access still available by satellite service providers - satellite phones do work there after all. As with your example though, the service provider's IP space and the area being provided services need not be in the same locale. Chances are anyone still accessing the Internet in Syria will be geolocated to wherever the downlink station is - most probably elsewhere in the Middle East or Europe.
  • Directional WiFi into Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey.
  • Oh Noes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @03:09PM (#42133197)
    Gosh folks, this is really Syria's.
  • Intentional (Score:3, Informative)

    by ternarybit ( 1363339 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @04:09PM (#42133949)
  • Syrian government claims that this is the result of a "terrorist" (rebel) attack on the main connection cable, and that engineers are working on fixing it.
  • "appear[s] to have been knocked off line by heavy fighting earlier this morning." - uhhhh, no. Unless they were specifically all targeting some ruthless fiber optic cable or they managed to level their entire country, I don't think it happened by random chance. 10% of internet connections in Syria would be random chance.
  • I was thinking today that what we really need is an Android store-and-forward application that could create and search for ad-hoc wifi networks to push data along as someone walks around. There are some technical issues with doing that, of course, some of which are fairly easy to solve (Cryptographic signing to confirm identities) and some not so much (The secret police triangulating your position and shooting you in the head if you're running an ad-hoc wifi network on your phone.)

    Still might be worth thr

  • Syrian internet is dead!

    (Ok, I know it's overused... but in this case it could actually apply!)

  • From their email of 1600 yesterday...

    On behalf of Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, and the Internet Society Board of Trustees:

    Emerging reports from various organizations and individuals indicate that international Internet connectivity was shut off in Syria today. The Internet is an open, global medium for communication, idea exchange, empowerment, and innovation. Access to the global Internet is a crucial enabler of human rights.

    As with previous actions to block Internet traffic in Egypt and Libya, t

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.