Egypt cuts off internet access

By Charles Arthur
Friday 28 January 2011

Most of the major internet service providers in Egypt are offline following week-long protests

Egypt appears to have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country from late on Thursday night, in a move that has concerned observers of the protests that have been building in strength through the week.

“According to our analysis, 88% of the ‘Egyptian internet’ has fallen off the internet,” said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks.

“What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks.”

The cutoff appears to have happened around 10.30pm GMT on Thursday night.

Only one internet service provider appears to still have a working connection to the outside world: the Noor Group, for which all 83 routes are working, and inbound traffic from its connection provider, Telecom Italia, also working.

Protests in Egypt at the government’s rule have been building all week, and Friday was expected to see the largest demonstrations so far.

An analysis by Renesys, which provides real-time monitoring of internet access, says that “every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, internet cafe, website, school, embassy and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.”

That has caused concern among observers who believe that internet access – which the Egyptian government limited earlier this week by cutting off social networks – is essential to ensure that government acts responsibly towards its citizens. Tim Bray, an engineer at Google, tweeted: “I feel that as soon as the world can’t use the net to watch, awful things will start happening.”

Renesys found that: “At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP [Border Gateway Protocol] routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers.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.”

The company notes that Noor Group is the only working connection: “Why was Noor Group apparently unaffected by the countrywide takedown order? Unknown at this point, but we observe that the Egyptian Stock Exchange is still alive at a Noor address.”

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 5:46 pm

    ///Egypt cuts off internet access///

    Cutting off internet access will not solve social unrest; instead, the people will get more angry and rebellious.

    The Egypt ruling regime and Opposition must sit down together to see what has gone wrong with the country’s administration and policies, and trash out a solution.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 10:07 pm

    ///Protests and the role of social media///

    The new media has played a crucial part in the communication of protests in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Iran.

    The BBC’s Adam Mynott reports on the role played by social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in galvanising popular support for various causes around the world.


  3. #3 by yhsiew on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 10:13 pm

    ///How social media changed protest///


  4. #4 by tak tahan on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 10:48 pm

    yhsiew,is your internet get way already being censored by one the top guns in govenrment service. ‘Page not found’ is what i get when trying to load into your recommended site.Tell me,i can hack back at them and kautim your internet accessibility.

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 11:39 pm

    Have difficulty accessing website in #2 and #3 ?

    To access website in #2 Google for
    “BBC News – Protests and the role of social media”

    To access website in #3 Google for
    “BBC News – How social media changed protest”

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 8:55 am

    Not 2 worry, many Middle East citizens hv relatives who r ultra rich UmnoB Malays here
    They r coming here n will b transformed 2 UmnoB Malays pronto n then jiak, jiak, jiak
    UmnoB/BN need new bloods quickly as their voters in d next GE, kow tim now

  7. #7 by dagen on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 10:40 am

    Orgy beramai ramai no more.
    Time is up umno.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 4:24 pm

    A chilling thought has just come into my mind. Jibbi has abandoned “malaysai boleh”, replacing it with “satumalaysai”.

    This means that malaysai can no longer “boleh”, that is to say it has failed…….What is the point of “satumalaysai” when malaysai has failed? It is like the Germans yelling “Seig Heil” when they surrender to the Russians or the Japs yelling “Pangsai” as they ran away from the American atom bombs.

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 10:58 pm

    GE comes they cannot pangsai already.They will pangkhee as they know rakyat had enough of their pangsai pun pang beh choot when GE comes.That particular time,they will lausai chi tua tui.Yo Yo!!

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Sunday, 30 January 2011 - 11:05 am

    It’s burn, burn, burn and a ring of fire there

  11. #11 by raven77 on Sunday, 30 January 2011 - 11:22 pm

    We can soon expect huge numbers of Egyptians to be working in Malaysia even at the expense of Malaysians at USM, UKM, UIA, UPM, USIM, Cyberjaya Med School, MMU, etc etc etc….

You must be logged in to post a comment.