After almost a week without Internet access, Egypt blinked back online Wednesday, according to report
published by Renesys.
As of one PM Wednesday, Cairo time, the country’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) appear to have restored their service, providing Net access to the strife torn middle eastern nation.
was initially shut down last Thursday in a coordinated fashion that severed the nation from the Internet in the space of minutes. The mass outage, which initially impacted both cellular and IP networks, was believed to be a response to widespread unrest and
protest in the nation. It has been widely speculated that Hosni Mubarak’s
government demanded the black out, though there is no way to prove these allegations.
On Wednesday, all five ISPs
resumed connectivity independently, but also within minutes of one another – behavior unlikely to be caused by a technical glitch. ISP the NOOR Group, which hosts the Egyptian Stock
Exchange and the American University of Cairo was alone among Egyptian ISPs that kept operating after last Thursday’s blackout. NOOR inexplicably remained
online for a few days before being taken
offline as well. Strangely enough, the NOOR Group didn’t reconnect until an
hour and a half after the other ISPs.
While it has become commonplace for totalitarian regimes to block
access to certain websites or areas of the Web, a country-wide Internet blackout
of this magnitude is unprecedented. While Internet access has been restored, Renesys reports that there will still be consequences of the blackout that are lasting. For one: the rebooted Egyptian table is smaller than it was before the blackout due to a
process called re-aggregation, whereby small and partially redundant customer
routes, which serve mostly traffic engineering purposes, are lost. This could actually
have positive effects, as the Egyptian table had become rife with such redundancies
in the days and weeks leading up to the shut down. Some
large network blocks, like that belonging to the Egyptian Universities Network,
Egypt’s top level .eg domains, did not immediately reappear following the reconnection.
Renesys confirmed that Twitter and Facebook, the social media
giants that have come to be the mouthpiece of the people in this and other similar
revolutions, are once again accessible in Egypt. As of now, in as far as
Renesys can monitor, Internet traffic is returning to pre-blackout numbers,
there are no known traffic blocks in place, and DNS answers are coming back
clean with matching IP addresses.
Netcraft reported a significant
peculiarity that has occurred since the reconnect. The website of the Egyptian
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology came back online briefly,
but then disappeared again and the Ministry of Interior website has been spotty
since the reconnection as well. Interestingly, both the MCIT and the MOI’s website
had been the target of failed DDoS attacks from online
collective Anonymous, who turned the Low Ion Orbit Cannons (LOIC) on
Egyptian Government sites shortly after they attempted to block Internet
activity in Tahrir Square.