We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Syria disappears from Internet for 40 minutes

Regime pulls the plug

Syria's presence on the Internet suddenly went dark for around 40 minutes on 19 July, Net analysis firm Renesys has reported.

Exactly what happened between 13.32UTC and 14.42UTC on Thursday is as unclear as almost everything else that occurs in a country in a state of near civil war but the brief disconnection was highly unusual from national domains that have recently been stable.

What Renesys means by disconnection is that networks routed through Syrian Telecommunications Establishment were "withdrawn" from the global routing table, leaving only five of sixty-one Syrian prefixes available.

The five that remained turned out to be controlled by Indian company Tata which has a presence in the region meaning that all Syrian-directed domains were unavailable.

There has only been one previous outage on this scale but that lasted only minutes in October 2011, Renesys said, with a second in June 2011 disrupting only parts of the Syrian system since then.

The most likely cause of the disappearance is likely to have been Syrian Government action.

"Interestingly enough, among the websites hosted in these networks is one providing a fake Skype encryption tool, purportedly targeting Syrian opposition activists," noted Renesys.

Among a number of under-pressure Governments in the region, Syria has tended to allow Internet connectivity to continue despite it being used as a conduit for negative video footage.

Such images benefit dissidents but keeping the Internet also benefits the regime which has launched waves of malware attacks on the opposition forces using the Trojans mentioned by Renesys.


IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model