Egypt Abruptly Withdraws From the Internet Before Protests

Internet in Egypt has gone down just before the largest protest which is due in a few hours. The government has taken this measure by shutting down all the four major ISPs in Egypt and their partners are suffering along with.

egypt-map

The only online link in Egypt currently is the link to and from the stock exchange of the country. This is a lifesaver, as a downtime of one day would have incurred huge losses. The government is declining to comment and has also shut down all cellphone and SMS networks gradually. This displays an immense potential of the Egyptian government. It has more than a kill switch the US has been dreaming of.

These abrupt shutdowns cause major routing of traffic through adjoining countries and prove fatal for the Internet. However, this sudden black hole is not affecting the optical fiber links through Egypt. Renesys has periodic updates on the situation. Their last update says that nearly 3500 BGR routers have been shut and now, Egypt is fully disconnected from the Internet. In addition, when all four ISPs are shut, it is interesting to know how the Stock exchange is still online in Egypt.

The last time I had heard of something similar, Pakistan caused worldwide YouTube outage by routing all YouTube traffic to a dead end. This was supposed to be a measure to shut YouTube access in Pakistan but went horribly wrong. However, the shutdown of the BGR routers will prevent this in Egypt.

(Image via: africantravelinc)

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