Egypt Shut Down Its Net With a Series of Phone Calls
By Ryan Singel
Egypt’s largest ISPs shut off their networks Thursday, making it impossible for traffic to get to websites hosted in Egypt or for Egyptians to use e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. The regime of President Hosni Mubarak also ordered the shut down of mobile phone networks, including one run by the U.K.-based Vodafone, all in an attempt to undermine the growing protests over MubarakÕs autocratic rule of the country.
While the world has seen net filtering and disruption in places like Burma and Iran following social and political unrests, Egypt’s decision to shutter it is different, according to Craig Labovitz, the chief scientist at Arbor Networks, a computer security firm that has nearly unequaled real data on international internet traffic.
“What’s different with Egypt is the scale,” Labovitz told Wired.com. “By that I mean that Egypt has fairly significant internet infrastructure with a diversity of paths – satellite, microwave and fiber links – a number of large providers and hundreds of smaller providers. It is one of the more significant internet infrastructures in the Middle East and certainly within Africa. Egypt has a very well-developed economy with a significant reliance on the internet, this is very different from Burma.”
So how did Egypt shut down the net? Did someone in the government hit a giant stop button?