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Blackout: Internet Traffic in Syria Suddenly Disappears

Blackout: Internet Traffic in Syria Suddenly Disappears

Breaking reports indicate that internet communications out of Syria seem to have dropped off the map this afternoon.

From Umbrella Security Labs:

At around 18:45 UTC OpenDNS resolvers saw a significant drop in traffic from Syria. On closer inspection it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet.

The graph below shows DNS traffic from and to Syria. Although Twitter remains relatively silent, the drop in both inbound and outbound traffic from Syria is clearly visible. The small amount of outbound traffic depicted by the chart indicates our DNS servers trying to reach DNS servers in Syria.

The charts below say it all.


Google’s transparency report for Syria shows the same.


A blackout occurred in Syria in November 2012, as conflicts between government and rebel forces increased and moved closer to the Damascus capital, also disrupting much of its airport operations.

The Syrian government at the time maintained that rebels had cut internet cables, but security specialists speculated that the government had deliberately taken communication paths offline.  Companies like Google and Twitter intervened, launching services such as a voice-to-tweet program to allow Syrians to get messages outside the country.

Last November, Anonymous also launched #OpSyria in advance of and during the blackout to provide Syrians with information on alternate communication methods in the instance of such a blackout.  Some hackers however also took the opportunity to retaliate against the Syrian government by hacking the few government websites that remained online.

Meanwhile, internet activists – many with the hacker collective Anonymous – are again furiously tweeting out dial-up access information for Syrians to reach the outside world today.

There has been no official confirmation yet as to what the cause of today’s drastic drop in traffic may be.

Update 5-8-2013 by WAJ — Syria is claiming technical problems, but that excuse seems flimsy, via BBC:

A “fault in optical fibre cables” is to blame for Syria’s continued internet blackout, local state-run media said.

The Syrian Arab News Agency reported that the fault would be fixed “as soon as possible”.

However, activists say the regime is attempting to “silence” rebel communications.

Update 5-9-2013 — the internet has returned to Syria, the cause of the outage remains in dispute.


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Someone must have tripped over the cord…

One of the very few times I find myself cheering on “Anonymous.”

Stopped clock, and all.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Which is interesting . However with 60 million people & the Internet & 2 years – they never told us much at all.

I did learn that Bieber was gay – they told me that . I was extremely worried about Selena but they said she was fine with it.

Later I learnt what the Syrians told me was not true at all. People on Twitter in war torn lands NEVER lie. I was extremely disappointed.

TrooperJohnSmith | May 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Sounds like they must have Comcast, too.

Last one out of Syria shut down the generators and open the animal cages.