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Net darkness in Syria

Traffic drops to zero reports Google, Umbrella Security

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Syrian regime has apparently repeated its withdrawal of route announcements to take the country off the Internet, as previously happened in November 2012.

The last nationwide outage was widely interpreted as precursor to some kind of major escalation of violence by the regime, which didn't take place (this is not to minimise the scale of violence daily taking place in Syria, only a caution against over-interpreting the new outage).

The latest take-down has been seen by Google and Umbrella Security (OpenDNS's threat research division), both of which report a complete and sudden loss of traffic from the country. “Both TLD servers for Syria, ns1.tld.sy and ns2.tld.sy are unreachable”, Umbrella states.

Umbrella's analysis is that the routes for the nameservers have been withdrawn, meaning that there's no way to contact those servers – making it unable to resolve Syrian addresses.

How Google saw it: Syria going dark

Telegeography maps three cables currently serving the country, all of which land at the southern coastal city of Tartous – which means that while route withdrawal remains the most likely explanation for the blackout, any shared landing facility would offer a single failure point in an attack.

On May 7, United Press International reported that Sunnis were fleeing the city alleging a massacre in the area. ®

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