Kill switch thrown on Internet in Syria

Amid bloody civil war, communication blackout hits all of country

Internet and mobile communications were shut down on Thursday morning in war torn Syria.

Renesys Corp., a global Internet monitoring firm, earlier today reported a " major outage" in Syria, and added that a kill switch had been thrown within the country.

Renesys also reported that the Middle eastern country's primary Syrian Telecommunications Establishment and all of its customer networks are unreachable.

"Syria's international Internet connectivity shut down," said Renesys in a blog post. "In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet."

That means no Internet traffic -- or any online communications -- is possible in Syria.

Meanwhile Google's Transparency Report notes that all of its services, including Gmail, Google Search and Google Maps, are inaccessible in Syria.

Using the hashtag #SyriaBlackout, Google tweeted late this afternoon, "Internet access completely cut off in Syria. This is why a #freeandopen Internet is so important."

The SecDev Group, an Internet analytics firm, reports that the Internet outage in Syria spiked today, but that it began on Nov. 22.

SecDev CEO Rafal Rohozinski said all Internet communications have been stopped in Syrian, except for those based on individually operated satellite connections, such as satellite phones.

"The reports we are getting from people inside Syria is that cell telephony, Internet, and some land lines were affected in all the major cities," wrote Rohozinski, in an email to Computerworld.

"It appears that the outage was caused by interruptions at the main telephone switches, and core backbone routers. As of late this afternoon, cell phone services within Damascus, and landline seem to have been partially restored but there is no Internet connectivity," he added.

Rohozinski also noted that the Syrian Minister of Information blamed the outages on terrorist attacks, and said that Internet services will be restored.

"This outage coincides with apparent attacks on the airport in Damascus, and the recent seizure of several key military bases by the rebels," added Rohozinski. "As a result, it may be an attempt by the government to tighten up the communication environment to deny the rebels the command-and-control channels they have been using via cell phones and the Internet."

Similar blackouts have also occurred in Middle eastern countries Egypt and Iran .

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said a government- caused Internet blackout just adds to the unrest in the country. For the people, this is huge. They have no way of communicating outside."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is

Read more about internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglecyberwarfaresecurityinternetRenesys

More about GoogleTopic

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Sharon Gaudin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts