Report: Internet in Syria restored; Outage lasted 19.5 hours

Summary:The latest Internet downtime in Syria represents a depressing pattern in the war-torn region, according to Internet research firm Renesys.

zdnet-renesys-Syria07May2013

Internet access in Syria appears to have been restored after a 19.5-hour outage, according to multiple Internet tracking agencies.

Umbrella Security Labs, the research arm of enterprise security firm OpenDNS, reported on Tuesday that there was a sharp drop in both inbound and outbound traffic from the war-torn country starting at approximately 6:45PM UTC.

Internet research firm Renesys confirmed that it also did not see "a flicker of activity" after that point until approximately 2:13PM UTC.

Here is what researchers mean in clear cut terms:

We haven't been able to successfully send a ping or a traceroute to any host inside Syria. Government websites, universities, domain name servers, core infrastructure routers, banks, businesses, DSL customers, smartphones: all silent.

Syria has repeatedly experienced Internet "blackouts" over the course of the last few years . Some of the incidents have been brief ( less than an hour ).

Back in November, the blackout lasted approximately two days , effectively cutting off the nation from the rest of the world .

In that case, both sides pointed fingers at each other as to whom was responsible. The regime of president Bashar al-Assad claimed that terrorists were "cutting cables."

But Renesys retorted at the time that the way in which Syria came back online suggested otherwise, but refrained from an accusation based on a lack of proper data.

This time, Renesys chief technology officer and co-founder James Cowie suggested in a blog post on Wednesday that this latest incident represents a potential pattern in the region:

In this case, however, what strikes me is the depressing sameness of the sequence of Syrian Internet disconnections. Just as in June 2011, July 2012, August 2012, and November 2012, the entire nation disappeared from the Internet in 30 seconds, as if a switch had been thrown. Everyone in the Twittersphere seems to share the same strange lack of perspective about these events — in the middle of the chaos and tragedy of civil war, why is anyone surprised when the Internet stops working? Isn't it actually more shocking and noteworthy that the Internet in Syria actually functions pretty well 360 days out of the year?

Image via The Renesys Blog

Topics: Government, Legal, Privacy, Security

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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