Feeds

Syrian net access falls down some stairs, doing OK now

Assad regime blames cable fire. No one believes them

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Syria has been reconnected to the world following a suspicious 19-hour internet blackout in the troubled nation.

News that access to the worldwide web had collapsed in the civil-war-torn country began circulating on Tuesday. It appeared the systems passing internet traffic in and out of the Middle East territory withdrew their networking routes - like a castle pulling up its drawbridge and erasing its location from the world's maps.

The outage was widely interpreted as a sign that the government was planning a military operation - either against Syrian rebels or a retaliation strike against its southwest neighbour Israel. A convoy allegedly carrying missiles bound for Shiite Hezbollah militants had earlier come under attack from Israeli forces: Hezbollah are long-time foes of Israel and strong allies of President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime.

Internet services were restored yesterday at about 1430 GMT, or 1730 local time, according to monitoring company Renesys. Google also noticed the outage and subsequent return of services, which is vividly depicted in a series of graphs that show internet access abruptly falling off a cliff.

State-backed media claimed the shutdown was caused by a "fault in optical fibre cables".

David Belson, of Akamai, a content delivery network, rubbished this claim.

"Our monitoring shows that Syria's international internet connectivity is through at least four providers, and published submarine cable maps show connectivity through three active cables," he said.

"As such, the failure of a single optical cable is unlikely to cause a complete internet outage for the country."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, warned that without the internet, any crimes committed by government troops and rebel forces would go unnoticed.

The group released a statement which said:

We're deeply concerned that this blackout is a deliberate attempt to silence Syria's online communications and further draw a curtain over grave events currently unfolding on the ground in Syria.

While heavily censored, monitored and compromised, the internet has served as an important window connecting the world at large to Syria, and one way that international observers could connect with individuals on the ground in that country.

A number of activists on the ground in Syria have access to internet via satellite links, which can connect them to the internet but carries a high risk for detection, which can be life-threatening.

News of the outage was spread using the Twitter hashtag #syriablackout. Mobile and fixed line telephone networks remained intact throughout the blackout.

On Tuesday, Dan Hubbard, chief technology officer of Umbrella Security Labs, wrote: "Effectively, the shutdown disconnects Syria from internet communication with the rest of the world. It’s unclear whether internet communication within Syria is still available.

"Although we can’t yet comment on what caused this outage, past incidents were linked to both government-ordered shutdowns and damage to the infrastructure, which included fiber cuts and power outages." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.