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Egypt’s Net on Life Support

January 27, 2011 Comments (192) Views: 195941 Economics, Internet, Politics, Society

Egypt Leaves the Internet

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Thanks to all for great comments and questions. Please see below for latest updates on the ongoing Egyptian Internet blackout, including some trace-based analysis and a few words about neighboring countries. After this morning we’ll be closing this post out, and looking for the restoration. Hopefully sooner than later. –jim

Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.


At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow. The Egyptian government’s actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.

What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up. We will continue to dig into the event, and will update this story as we learn more. As Friday dawns in Cairo under this unprecedented communications blackout, keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts.

Update (3:06 UTC Friday)

One of the very few exceptions to this block has been Noor Group (AS20928), which still has 83 out of 83 live routes to its Egyptian customers, with inbound transit from Telecom Italia as usual. Why was Noor Group apparently unaffected by the countrywide takedown order? Unknown at this point, but we observe that the Egyptian Stock Exchange ( is still alive at a Noor address.

Its DNS A records indicate that it’s normally reachable at 4 different IP addresses, only one of which belongs to Noor. Internet transit path diversity is a sign of good planning by the Stock Exchange IT staff, and it appears to have paid off in this case. Did the Egyptian government leave Noor standing so that the markets could open next week?

Update (17:30 UTC Friday)

The Internet routing situation for Egypt continues to be bleak, with an estimated 93% of Egyptian networks currently unreachable. Renesys saw no significant improvements or changes in Egyptian international Internet routing overnight.

We have examined the takedown event more closely, looking at the sequence in which Egyptian service providers removed themselves from the Internet. The following plot shows the number of available networks for each of the significant providers, between 22:00 and 23:00 UTC last night (midnight to 1am Cairo time).


Our new observation is that this was not an instantaneous event on the front end; each service provider approached the task of shutting down its part of the Egyptian Internet separately.

  • Telecom Egypt (AS8452), the national incumbent, starts the process at 22:12:43.
  • Raya joins in a minute later, at 22:13:26.
  • Link Egypt (AS24863) begins taking themselves down 4 minutes later, at 22:17:10.
  • Etisalat Misr (AS32992) goes two minutes later, at 22:19:02
  • Internet Egypt (AS5536) goes six minutes later, at 22:25:10.

First impressions: this sequencing looks like people getting phone calls, one at a time, telling them to take themselves off the air. Not an automated system that takes all providers down at once; instead, the incumbent leads and other providers follow meekly one by one until Egypt is silenced.

Update (14:00 UTC Saturday)

The Egyptian Internet blackout continues into its second full day, with no substantive change overnight. The government seems to have put itself in a tough position, as the Egyptian working week begins tomorrow, and with it, incredible disruptions to Egypt’s economy and debt rating from the loss of Internet and mobile communications. With every hour that passes, the continuing comunications blackout is public evidence that they have utterly failed to regain control of the evolving situtation.


This plot shows the round-trip delays packets experienced between New York and Egypt in the days leading up to the blackout. The blue background shows the number of successful traces that reached their destinations inside the country. There’s some variance in latency ahead of the shutdown, but not more than we’d consider normal for Egypt; that is, we don’t see evidence of throttling or intentional congestion of the national Internet connections before everything goes dark. They seem to have gone straight from plan A (block twitter and facebook) to plan Z (turn off the Internet) without stopping at any intermediate solutions. Iran took the more subtle throttle-and-monitor approach after their dubious elections in 2009.

We’ve also been asked repeatedly whether other countries in the region are readying a “kill switch,” and whether there are already outages in, for example, Syria. The answer, for now, is no. Syria’s Internet connectivity appears to have been quite stable, as have other countries in the region, and nobody else has significant Internet connectivity problems so far.

I predict that Egypt’s “kill switch” experiment will serve as a cautionary tale: the economic and reputational costs of the shutdown far exceed the benefits of regaining total information control.

We would also note that there appear to have been no significant disruptions to other countries’ traffic passing through Egypt on fiberoptic cables such as SMW-4 and FLAG FEA.

As we’ve noted before, the majority of Internet connectivity between Europe and Asia actually passes through Egypt. The Gulf states, in particular, depend critically on the Egyptian fiberoptic corridor for their connectivity to world markets. Commodity traders are already nervous about the potential impacts on oil prices of any closure of the Suez Canal, but the potential risks to global Internet connectivity through Egypt are equally significant, and far less widely understood.

Are the folks at Davos thinking about this? They should be.

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192 Responses to Egypt Leaves the Internet

  1. wn030 says:

    as a reader, thank for the quick text.
    updates on:

  2. Craig says:

    Thank you for linking to HuffPost on this.

  3. Artsology says:

    This is unbelievable … at this point in the game, it’s like cutting off libraries, or newspapers.

  4. Curt says:

    Extremely valuable post, James. Thanks. Have added it to our post on Egypt, retweeted it. Hope you do indeed follow up.

  5. Weston Polivka says:

    Crazy. Government has too much control.

  6. Jason says:

    As a customer of an Egyptian ISP (!) I have to say I’m deeply dismayed at how quickly the government can quickly cut off my hosting service for Egypt.
    Prior to today Egypt was the #1 place to do hosting for European based users, as it is so cheap, responsive, and seemingly business friendly.
    Well at least the local Egyptians were.
    If only their government wasn’t sabotaging the economy in every way possible.
    THROW THE BUMS OUT, Clearly Egypt’s old government isn’t good for business!!!!!!

  7. Mireille Riad says:

    Thank you , thank you very much for posting this , we , Egyptians living in Canada , has been trying to contact media lately to spread the news about internet cut (and also SMS service) in Egypt , we cannot reach anyone unless we call and not always get through to, they are isolated and trapped in black-hole .. This has two meanings , government wants to prevent activists from communicating like they used to on twitter to agree on locations and help each other when needed, and also prove they are planning the worse for tomorrow and wants it away from media since activists have been posting instantly pics videos and tweets live from the action.
    Please keep posting!

  8. cec says:

    egypt’s markets, like most in the middle east, run from sunday-thursday (their weekend is friday-saturday, since the holy day of rest in islam is friday).
    so the markets will not open tomorrow either way. this is likely a measure to keep international investors from totally panicking.

  9. Kevin says:

    Great job as always, this is an amazing story. I can’t believe the government is so self interested as to completely undermine their country’s businesses by doing this.

  10. ano says:

    Markets are closed on Friday (Muslim day of rest/mosque prayer, etc). And also Sat., they open on Sunday in Egypt… So I highly doubt that Noor ISP was left open for Stock Market purposes. It’s more likely that their domestic spy/security services and related agencies are keeping themselves on the grid via this ISP.

  11. Very important work you’re doing here.Long live the Agyptians!

  12. China says:

    This could be an own goal!

  13. Egyptian says:

    How can we benefit from this? can people inside the country connect to this (Noor) network in any means?

  14. Alaa says:

    noor is smallest of the ISPs so maybe they decided leaving them running won’t change much.
    I’m guessing blackout is an attempt to disrupt protesters and activists ability to coordinate not to prevent information from leaking out (afterall journalists are still allowed to operate)

  15. HemiYemi says:

    LOL, adios and good riddance.

  16. Michael says:

    Unfortunately this is not unprecedented. During Army imposed “State of Emergency” in Bangladesh (pop. 160 million+) in 2007 internet and mobile connections turned-off for over 24 hours.
    Only one fibre-optic cable connected Bangladesh to net and it was simply disabled.
    Terrifying experience trying to get information on police and army actions to outside world then.

  17. Brendan O'Hanrahan says:

    Looks like is down now too – 03.46 GMT

  18. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi says:

    4chan will deal with internet kill-switch,
    most police now side with the street,
    2 hours to go

  19. Anonymous says:

    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    We do not Forgive.
    We do not Forget.
    Expect us.

  20. James Wood says:

    I suspect the cut off of all these services (Net, landlines,cells, power, water -if true) IS multipurpose – Disrupt protest communications to coordinate – protect (balloon theory) AND instill FEAR .. Notice the fear of non-witnessed massacres on some tweets?
    Can some of these be plants? Scare people (earlier) from going out on Friday ?

  21. Brian says:

    The loss of internet-enabled access to information is atrocious, but even worse may be the impact on their economy due to the shutting down of a large portion of commerce and trade.

  22. LibertyVini says:

    Joe Lieberman’s wet dream of an “internet kill switch” comes to fruition in Egypt.

  23. anon says:

    Friday is a holiday/weekend in Egypt.

  24. wiretapped says:

    wiretapped’s status on Thursday, 27-Jan-11 20:10:00 PST

    RT @ericuman Graphic showing Egypt’s sudden disappearance from internet: (via @jayrosen_nyu)

  25. MIna Hanna says:

    Thank You for writing about this. We, Egyptians outside of Egypt, are really worried about this. Our hearts are with the people at home. Down with this regime.
    Update: international calls seems to work.

  26. Adam F says:

    Heh, they even shut off their own governmental website. I just checked. Note to governments, if you want to chop off the internet, make sure you have a portion left working for your own purposes.

  27. Quora says:

    How did the Egyptian government shut down access to the Internet and SMS on 01/27/11?

    The best technical analysis i have found is from the Renesys blog ( which I have quoted below. For the non-tech geek, BGP is the main routing protocol that underlies internet communica…

  28. vera says:

    Thank you for metering and this post :) Just linked to it from my german blog.

  29. CDainMiller says:

    Anonymous | January 27, 2011 10:57 PM | Reply
    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    We do not Forgive.
    We do not Forget.
    Expect us.
    This comment makes me feel so much better about this, something is being planned – and I hope to god that they do something to help us all get this to STOP.

  30. ee says:

    Mohamed Baradei placed under house arrest according to israeli intelligence

  31. The Slippery Slope of Government Censorship

    My thoughts on the way Egypt’s present situation can be related to the proposed Internet filter for Australia …

  32. Anonymous says:

    They [corrupt government] tried to steal everyone’s Facebook credentials, and when it became obvious they weren’t going to be able to “co-opt” technology for their own uses, they decided to go scorched Earth.
    20th Century thinking for a 21st Century world.

  33. den says:

    my word, is this real? has anyone protested this? CAN any company protest this? how long is this for?

  34. holy crap. thats a really bold move, and a great way to cripple your nation.

  35. What cracks me up about this, in a really sad way, is what do they think they will accomplish with this, in terms of suppressed information? Maybe there will be a delay, but cameras and videocameras and cell phones will still capture everything and eventually it will get out and be posted everywhere.

  36. Badmanh says:

    Sigh.. 3 dedicated servers cut off from my clients… complete disaster.

  37. Kevin says: is loading, but very, very, very slowly.

  38. Danny O'Brien says:

    Some more routes are up at this point. See: (the article has been updated since the original post)

  39. comm guy says:

    Anybody in Egypt got a Winlink connection on HF?

  40. comm guy says:

    Anybody got a Winlink connection on HF to Egypt?

  41. Anonymous says:

    Gov site’s downtime is probably the result of DDoS attacks and not an intentional shutdown.
    Also, an interesting side-note:
    Notice the absolutely staggering number of high-end clients that exist on the one and only remaining ISP in Egypt at the moment…

  42. Olliander says:

    Flipping the switch: cutting off the internet in Egypt

    In the form of a graph: James Cowie writes: [I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-op…

  43. Olliander says:

    Flipping the switch: cutting off the internet in Egypt

    In the form of a graph: James Cowie writes: [I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-op…

  44. shiny says:

    shiny’s status on Friday, 28-Jan-11 18:53:24 NZDT

    Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fibe…

  45. hamada says:

    They need to at least give people access to porn or they will really revolt! This is sad and stupid. It seems that all websites are all down as well.

  46. AD says: running fine, maybe a little slow. Looks like all three of their major indices bottomed out around the same time today/yesterday.

  47. encyclomundi says:

    encyclomundi’s status on Thursday, 27-Jan-11 22:00:14 PST

    How #Egypt shut down the internet there: #25jan

  48. concerned says:

    if they have modems could someone txt/sms them the numbers to call (international calls?) for dialup access. or phone & tell them if SMS is down too.

  49. The Egyptian government runs the risk of angering business owners and private institutions on top of the existing number of protesters. Not a good political move. This just puts under global scrutiny.

  50. Hamada says:

    Noor Group is the last IP in their DNS records and it was reported that this is where all Egypt’s crucial internet traffic is going through right now… This is why it is slow.

  51. Khaled says:

    Here are NOOR’s dial up numbers 0777 7770, 0777 7000, 0777 8880. I’m not sure if they’re working or not, but let people in Egypt know about them and let’s see if they can get online. The numbers are probably going to be very busy and the Internet is going to be slow, but at least they may be able to get online.

  52. nhelsherof says:

    Thnx for this post. was looking for concrete proof of this cowered/cheap move of the corrupted gov’t. Egyptian living abroad

  53. Hamada says:

    I guess this kind of control is getting popular… The U.S. may be implementing an Internet Kill Switch!

  54. Comical says:

    Any updates anyone?

  55. partheepan says: is working for me, can i know whats the exact problem is, iam from india.

  56. Anonymous says:

    The Egyptian government is going to do anything to silence their people. They are trying to take away their freedom of speech, their access to information and all of their other rights. They do not want anyone finding out how they are treating their people, how they are completely taking the people’s rights away. I wonder how this atrocious action is going to ultimately affect the Egyptian government and people.
    This message brought to you by Anonymous.
    We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

  57. vic says:

    Can’t surf like an Egyptian…

  58. Sarah Gheita says:

    what if we send to egypt sim mobile cards that have internet roaming will this allow them to send pics and videos that they take and information they need to share to the outside world. In other words does internet roaming depend on local service providers?

  59. dartigen says:

    Damn. Nothing to be done unless you have satellite internet with a non-Egyptian provider. I would assume that at least is still working. And good old-fashioned word of mouth will always be there.
    The saddest part is the number of people who will call their ISPs and scream and yell at the reps, when it isn’t their fault.

  60. Barley says:

    US Embassy In Egypt web page is also down. Does this mean all the embassies are out of contact?

  61. Omar says:

    Actually Noor ISP is owned by Ayman Noor one of the biggest opposers to the Mubarak corrupted regime and he ran fro president against Mubarak last elections and he was put in jail for 2 years as a result…Ayman Noor simply didn’t agree and he didn’t block the service risking a confrontation with GOE incase the revolution didn’t work out…

  62. 99chan says:

    We are 99chan.
    We are Legion.
    We do not Forgive.
    We do not Forget.
    Expect us.

  63. Sam Bowne says:

    What about IPv6 routes?

  64. Andy says:

    My thoughts are with the Egyptian people. Seize the time and bring the walls tumbling down

  65. Azktum says:

    AnonymousIRC: Egypt Gov only blocking by DNS. So for Twitter try Facebook 2 retweet 2 people API Management Solution Manage your Web API with 3scale. Tr Free

  66. troll says:


  67. Theres L. says:

    Hopefully many more nations follow suit. Who needs the internet?
    Great, so it is a problem that it was not voluntary but a removal of service, sure that sucks. Too bad.
    Call it tough love. All the better for it later.

  68. I have just sent billions of separate photos of pairs of white underpants to Egypt, so we will know immediately when everything on the Internet comes back up, based on all the questions that will then emerge from Egyptian Internet users asking about the strange underpants photos at a critical time in their history. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to accomplish what many others just agonize over.

  69. rjainms says:

    Noor’s tagline: “Empowering Realities”

  70. jloubelle says:

    Clearly they don’t want a Neda Soltan. All THIS, to prevent THAT. As Claudia said, videos will be taken and they will get out. But in the meantime they have undermines peoples’ ability to communicate and organize. Crippled but not killed. Hey Egypt — communication did exist before Twitter!!

  71. jamie says:

    I saw this on twitter.. don’t know if it will be helpful:
    DIAL-UP ISP IS WORKING. Noor dsl is still working in Try their Dial up numbers (0777 7770),(0777 7000) SPREAD THE WORD #jan25

  72. EB says:

    Knowing how many people are using the internet for their sat. dish using card-sharing on a dreambox like TV setup box, this will have another side affect that a huge population within Egypt will now also be without a TV signal.

  73. Fenasi Kerim says:

    To my humble opinion, such precations could not keep people connecting and spreading news over the Internet. However, the Egyptian Goverment supposes that “the social network” is limited by Internet. No mister! Social network is the cooperation and collabration of all “united brains”.

  74. sandi says:

    The egyptian government is helped by the zionist so they will never let the egyptian people succeed on this revolution.
    If egytian people succeed, Egypt will automatically become a threat to zionists, because they will not submit.

  75. Madnesssss!!!!!!! For how long wl it continue ? Shame on the ARAB leaders ****Sigh***

  76. Naveen says:

    wow, cant belive this is happening, the world is just heading into more turmoil and i didnt even notice, so much information, and darma 😀 would be interesting to see the impact this would have on Egypt and its economy…

  77. Anonymous says:

    “Egypt leaves the internet – renesys blog” wzbudza zainteresowanie! Więcej na #reblipi

  78. FliTTi says:

    Egypt Leaves the Internet

    Die Lage in Ägypten spitzt sich leider zu… renesys heise spiegel…

  79. Kaye says:

    It’s about far more than business! The internet blockage is a way of ensuring that videos from the protests – likely showing protestor deaths, as we have already witnessed in one instance from Egypt, the day before the ban – do not get out via social media. I hope that people who are incensed by the economic stupidity of this will recognize that the human cost is the one we should be worried about.

  80. ComputerBase says:

    Ägypten ist vom Internet abgeschnitten

  81. says:

    Ägypten offline

    Soetwas passiert auch nicht alle Tage. Aufgrund der Proteste und damit verbunden Unruhen, wurde auf Drängen der ägyptischen Regierung das Internet größtenteils blockiert / deaktiviert. Um ca. halb zwölf gestern Nacht bemerkte Renesys einen “simul…

  82. Dr. Mohamed Hossam says:

    The Egyptians need your help tody. They have been cut off the world. Therefore, the sadist regime find a chance to crush them. Please pass the world to all people.

  83. Hakan Sönmez says:

    Firavunlar daha beterini de yapardı. Kalitesiz firavunu indirince yerine yeni firavun koymayın sakın Mısırlı kardeşler…

  84. e.r. says:

    Not “unprecedented”. Burma 2007. Of course number of netizens and the whole net were very small in comparison to Egypt.

  85. CK says:

    For a more real time view and to see when the routes are back…

  86. Shiraz says: still stays online because of the fact that the SExchange of Egypt is connected through Noor Data Communication, and ISP which is still working…if u try to ping this site it will correspond to high response time showing that this thing is slow..other sites are completely out..but i wish to know WHEN WILL THE INTERNET BE BACK TO NORMAL(LIKELY any tip-offs?)………..pls comment

  87. Marcus Collins says:

    Joe Biden seems to have lost it and is a complete disgrace for the world. A man who proclaims that Mubarak should not step down because he is an duly elected leader must have been sleeping when Al Gore lost the elections to Bush. With this statement Joe Biden have shown that he is nothing more than a charlatan.

  88. I have received a report that financial services were moved to Noor Data recently, to lessen the financial impact of this shutdown. Can you check to see if Noor recently started announcing a lot more address blocks ?

  89. We’re discussing this over at too. Join us for all your survey-thread and news-reposting needs.

  90. broadstuff says:

    Davos, Cairo, and Rome – a #collapsonomics tale of three cities

    This morning I was working on a client report, and had two twitter streams going – one looking at Davos/World Economic Forum and the other about the events occurring in Egypt. It was a sad but fascinating contrast, and I can’t sum it up better than Umair

  91. Nathalie says:

    communication is still possible: landlines work, although cell phones dont as well as the internet doesnt.

  92. aero13972486 says:

    Its called protectionism, from economic theory. Wish my country would do it.
    People are going nuts with all the vulgar crap on the Internet. Total liberty is chaos. Its only a matter of time before western civilization collapses – just like the Roman empire – unless they start taking stock and having a good look at what democracy is really all about: Greed.

  93. A DailyKix Top Story – Trackback from

    Egypt Leaves the Internet

  94. Gail says:

    I have individuals that complete web design for me that work out of Mahalla and Cairo. The government ordered all isps to shut down internet service at the beginning of Friday morning Egypt time to make it more difficult for protesters to gather. Mobile phone services have also been compromised. We expect this to last approximately 48 to 72 hours until the government gains control of the situation or is overthrown.
    The opposition leader has arrived in Egypt and will bring leadership to the Youth and Muslim Brotherhood protests which are meant to be a intellectual demand for change. These protests are fueled by intellect, technology and youth’s desire for change and it is not an Islamic uprising as many people are wondering.
    This is a good thing for Egypt and is lead from youth demanding change from within. Losing internet and mobile service was one they all expected and knew would happen and anticipated. It is time their dictatorship “democracy” had a review. Maybe the global community will better understand their situation now. Hopefully loss of life and injuries will be minimal and a freer, new Egypt will emerge.
    For more information you can google Egyptian News and search the sites that are managing to get out the most recent news from the Country that is crippled for communication at the moment.

  95. Joe says:

    How about that! One of the major steps to start the One World Gov.
    That being, controlling communications not only between the people but the people can’t see what’s happening around the world except
    the Gov. of each country. If this starts to spread, you’ll know why.

  96. We saw what is the impact of Social Media and Internet!

  97. Andrew says:

    Don’t allow the President of the United States of America or the Legislature to have a “kill switch”, or they will use it the same way!

  98. HG says:

    The blackout can be circumvented, and people can help reconnect those inside censored regions by building ‘bridges’ and donating bandwidth:
    Stay safe revolutionaries, keep as calm as such a drastic situation can possibly allow, and may the force be with you.

  99. Dudedupe says:

    It’s a nice move for the government to exercise its control to keep the society in order, obviously there are too many minds going wild that forces the government to take actions.
    So never blame the government, only losers do.

  100. kumar says:

    Check out this video of Egypt: A Nation Forced Offline

  101. PeeHaa says:

    Somebody at gov did recall the old adage “if you go for vacations, turn internet off” .. or something like that.
    While I feel sorry for Egyptians, this is excellent study case for US/EU to see how much the ordinary life can be disrupted by internet kill switch and such “experiment” can be invaluable to us (although I think switching off internet in US/EU would have cause more problems, still this is probably more reliable then any dry simulation and prediction).
    I hope our experts and governments are less busy with local fighting and personal affairs, and will use this to our best.

  102. Anukat says:

    “I have just sent billions of separate photos of pairs of white underpants to Egypt, so we will know immediately when everything on the Internet comes back up, based on all the questions that will then emerge from Egyptian Internet users asking about the strange underpants photos at a critical time in their history. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to accomplish what many others just agonize over.”
    You’re a funny bastage.

  103. Peter Herz says:

    In 1999 we presented in Cairo for our team who made EgyptWorld. It was put on my Ritsec and Hosni’s wife presented just before us to espouse Egypt’s technological evolution and Internet integration.
    I sat next to Tim O’reilly as he slept on my shoulder practically and listened to the battles ahead of integrating Internet in Egyption classrooms and businesses. Egypt’s infrastructure was obviously lacking at the time but their spirit to adopt the global information medium was keen at all social and political levels. And by the sounds of it in the past ten years they have come quite a distance at being better connected. This is tragic and I hope Hosni realizes they’re likely to be the next Cuba if they cut off means to communicate with its citizens and denizens.

  104. scritch says:

    This is an important event, not because it’s the first time a government has cut off the Internet, but because a large country has cut off its Internet. It can happen anywhere. It is important that people understand that they develop other means of communication if Internet connections are lost. And not necessarily lost because of government interference; one can think of various scenarios in which connections are lost. What is important is that people must develop redundancies in communication.

  105. Peter Herz says:

    Very true.. satellites, wireless meshes, long live technological determinism.

  106. Alfrel Rivera, Engineer says:

    Take care with the Pyramids.

  107. Status says:

    Egypt pulls the plug

    If you were the sort of person either actively planning for, or eagerly watching Egypt, Tunisia, and Iran’s purported “Internet Revolutions,” you would be wise to remember that the governments who are the object of those revolutions also get a vote. Egypt

  108. extraexploit says:

    Egypt Telecom AS isolation – BGPlay show it ?
    If you are interested

  109. best assey says:

    Interesting what to tourists will be explained?

  110. Digital Life says:

    Egypt: A black hole in the Internet

    Egypt has pulled the plug on the Internet in a move that is termed 'unprecedented in Internet history

  111. Egypt without Internet, journalists will have a lot of topics to write about this.

  112. me says:

    Seeing as ISP are required to give back under-utilized IPv4 address blocks for the rest of the Internet to use, I guess the global IPv4 address shortage just got a lot less urgent and Egypt is about to find itself suddenly migrating to IPv6-only.

  113. Lennie says:

    Here is a graph published by Arbor Networks (which combines traffic information from many ISPS):

  114. Egypt: A black hole in the Internet

    Egypt has pulled the plug on the Internet in a move that is termed 'unprecedented in Internet history

  115. Egypt to citizens: No Internet for you!

    I’m sure some of you have heard about the protests and political unrest in Egypt by now. … The Egyptian government recently tried to prevent the protests from gaining momentum by censoring social networking Web sites. This behavior isn…

  116. Burz says:

    as far as US developing a internet killswitch soon… Well they’ve had HAARP active since teh 60s and this telcom killswitch would be a piece of cake for HAARP to perform…among other things.

  117. winifred says:

    We’re hearing from news reports on twitter that Syria is being taken offline. Are you seeing any proof of that?

  118. Peering into Egypt’s Internet Black Hole

    As events continue to unfold on the streets of Cairo and throughout Egypt, I spoke with Jillian York

  119. Tom Beecher says:

    This is a classic example of how a totalitarian government controls the population’s ability to communicate. Until the Internet is available wirelessly via satellite, access will continue to be at the will of whatever agent of the government that controls physical access to the backbone routers and circuits. Beware the backhoe!

  120. rusty says:

    When you read “Egypt” shuts down mobile phones, realize that the government asked carriers, including UK-owned Vodaphone and other multi-nationals to cut service + they did!
    It’s surprising that the carriers reacted so fast. I guess they want to stay in bed with the Egyptian government. Surprised they didn’t say, “OK but it’s’ going to take a while for us to do this, we can’t just flip the switch you know.”

  121. Marcos says:

    Thanks for this info.
    I translated this article into spanish so it’s reachable to more people:

  122. maymay says:

    maymay’s status on Friday, 28-Jan-11 19:49:47 UTC

    #Egypt shows us why USA’s !Internet “Kill Switch” plan is bad for Americans:

  123. Anon says:

    “free” PPP dial-up access on Madrid, Spain:
    +34 912910230
    We are Legion.

  124. says:

    Egypt Leaves the Internet – Renesys Blog

    Egypt’s Internet networks shut down. This could happen on any state-run telecommunications scenario.

  125. Steirerbua says:

    Hope for an egyptian solution with an end of the totalitarian regime. Nobody should avoid connection of humans in the internet. Freedom for communication is a must in our 21st century.

  126. Steve Gibbard says:

    It’s probably premature, at least based on what I’ve read so far, to criticize the network operators for turning off their networks.
    As others have noted, there are some precedents for this action: Nepal in 2005, Burma/Myanmar in 2007, and others. In Nepal, soldiers with guns showed up at the ISP offices. The network operators I talked to there seemed pretty terrified. While I have no inside knowledge of what’s going on in Egypt, I wouldn’t assume that compliance with the orders is voluntary.

  127. Dulce Saragoca says:

    Please share this information, these are ways that Egyptians can acess internet (that is being restricted):
    #EGYPT needing to use the internet: Twitter: “” Facebook: “” Google “” MSN “” Yahoo “” BING “”

  128. paul oneofmany says:


  129. Thank you for the excellent analysis. Is there any possibility that Egyptians are able to access the Internet over VSATs or satellite phones? Or is that blocked as well?

  130. Tino Singh says:

    Looks like the Egyptian government and airline websites are unreachable.

  131. Egypt Media & Social Media Summary – 28 January 2011 (1500 ET)

    {}Egypt Media & Social Media Summary 28 January 2011 (1500 ET) {}Produced by the Rendon Group{}   {}TOP STORIES: {}Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Sharqeya, Menia, and Mansura….

  132. Gary says:

    You have one part of your story incorrect! That it could not happen here, we currently have a President who during the past months has taken steps that would allow him to shut down the internet in the United States. If you are not aware of this I suggest you do your homework.

  133. Egypt turns off the Internet!

    It is something that is technically possible, but I’m sure nobody has ever thought it would actually happen. Early this morning, Egypt literally turned off the internet. The purpose of this action was to try and curb the protests in regards to th…

  134. Ari Brown says:

    This may be buried, but for the Renesys staff: How come AS36992 (ETISALAT MISR) appears to have a couple prefixes that are online? All of the others are at 0. Is this just a bug in the graphing or is something actually happening here?

  135. Bypass_Egypt_Censor says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong:
    How to BYPASS EGYPT CENSOR تخريب الانترنت الرقيب :
    So it looks like they have shut down the DNS servers, and that is all? You can use programs like “TREEWALK” to bypass the ISP DNS server and use the backbone DNS servers of the internet… I’m not completely sure but this program should allow you to get around that problem:
    1. Your ISP’s DNS servers are slow or offline
    2. Accurately resolving web sites is a problem
    3. You wish to capture or debug DNS routing data
    4. You want to custom configure DNS settings and servers
    5. You’d simply like faster repeat visits to sites via cached lookups
    6. You have poor DNS with your wireless or satellite Internet connection
    7. You use Internet Connection Sharing and want to improve surfing speeds
    تخريب الانترنت الرقيب :
    لذلك يبدو وكأنه لديهم إيقاف خدمة نظام أسماء النطاقات، وهذا هو كل شيء؟ يمكنك استخدام برامج مثل “TREEWALK” لتجاوز الملقم أسماء النطاقات مقدمي خدمات الإنترنت واستخدام نظام أسماء النطاقات خوادم العمود الفقري للإنترنت… لست متأكدا تماما ولكن هذا البرنامج يجب أن تسمح لك للتغلب على هذه المشكلة :
    مع TREEWALK يمكنك :
    1. مزود خدمة الإنترنت الخاص بك دياناس بطيئة أو غير متصل
    2. حل بدقة المواقع على شبكة الإنترنت مشكلة
    3. كنت ترغب في التقاط أو تصحيح البيانات توجيه نظام أسماء النطاقات
    4. تريد تكوين مخصص إعدادات نظام أسماء النطاقات وخوادم
    5. كنت ترغب ببساطة تكرار الزيارات أسرع إلى المواقع عن طريق عمليات البحث مؤقتا
    6. لديك نظام أسماء النطاقات الفقيرة مع اتصال الإنترنت اللاسلكي أو الأقمار الصناعية
    7. كنت تستخدم مشاركة اتصال إنترنت وترغب في تحسين تصفح بسرعة
    Egypt can use this number for dial up: +33172890150 (login ‘toto’ password ‘toto’) – thanks to French ISP (FDN) on +33172890150. LOOKS LIKE IT’S WORKING FINE. FEEL FREE TO USE AND SHARE. PASSWORD & LOGIN : TOTO
    ويمكن لمصر استخدام هذا الرقم ليصل الرقم : (‘توتو’كلمة السر ‘توتو’ دخول) +33172890150 — شكرا لمقدمي خدمات الإنترنت الفرنسية (قوات الدفاع الوطني) على +33172890150. يبدو انه يعمل بشكل جيد. لا تتردد في استخدام ونصيب.
    كلمة السر والدخول : TOTO
    IP Address:
    Web site addresses are actually a code that gets translated into the actual computer-language address that the site is at. A government can try and disconnect the alphanumeric address ( from the real computer language-address ( but you can still enter it by using these:
    for twitter “”
    for google “”
    for facebook “”
    Another way to get around any sort of censorship is to route your internet through a series of random servers around the world. This makes it nearly impossible for the government to block your access. (i.e. A hypothetical example is this: Say SF airport wants to stop flights from going from SF to Dallas. But they only control the SF airport. Its a lot harder to stop flights from going SF-Denver-Dallas or SF-LA-Dallas since they can’t control those airports. Hope that makes sense.)
    So they can get access to it tell folks to download Tor which allows them to do this. It is awesome. Its a bit slower but totally designed for this kind of thing.
    Hope all is well,
    PS- This info applies to folks in any country to sidestep government censorship- China, Iran, etc.
    PS- Protests have started in N. Yemen, citing solidarity with protestors in Tunisia/Egypt
    Shorter version for forwarding:
    for twitter “”
    for google “”
    for facebook “”
    for all internet (slower and requires download)
    الملكية الفكرية العنوان :
    عناوين مواقع الويب هي في الواقع رمز أن يحصل على ترجمتها إلى العنوان الفعلي الحاسوب واللغة التي هي في الموقع. ويمكن للحكومة ومحاولة قطع عنوان أبجدية ( من عنوان الكمبيوتر الحقيقي اللغة ( ولكن يمكنك إدخال أنها لا تزال باستخدام هذه :
    عن “” التغريد
    عن “” غوغل
    عن “” فيس بوك
    تور :
    طريقة أخرى للالتفاف على أي نوع من الرقابة لتوجيه الإنترنت الخاص من خلال سلسلة من خوادم عشوائي في جميع أنحاء العالم. وهذا يجعل من المستحيل تقريبا على الحكومة لمنع الوصول الخاص بك. (أي سبيل المثال الافتراضي هو هذا : قل سادس مطار تريد وقف الرحلات الجوية من الانتقال من سادس الى دالاس لكنهم لا يسيطرون الا على المطار سادس لها الكثير من الجهد لوقف الرحلات الجوية من الذهاب سادس – دنفر ، دالاس أو سادس لوس انجليس دالاس. نظرا لأنها لا تستطيع السيطرة على تلك المطارات. على أمل أن يجعل من معنى.)
    حتى يتمكنوا من الوصول إليها أخبر الناس بتحميل تور الذي يسمح لهم بذلك. ومن رهيبة. من أبطأ قليلا لكنها مصممة تماما لهذا النوع من الشيء.
    الأمل هو كل شيء حسنا ،
    ملاحظة : هذه المعلومات ، ينطبق على الناس في أي بلد لحكومة الصين وتجنب الرقابة ، وإيران ، وما إلى ذلك
    وبدأت الاحتجاجات في فرع فلسطين ، اليمن الشمالية ، نقلا عن التضامن مع المتظاهرين في تونس / مصر
    نسخة مختصرة للشحن :
    عن “” التغريد
    عن “” غوغل
    عن “” فيس بوك
    الإنترنت للجميع (أبطأ ، ويتطلب تحميل)

  136. King tut says:

    as I’m Egyptian I know the way this government does, they are too powerful, Mubarak had all people around him in his pocket, he took so much money and let all gov. people do the same and left the poor Egyptian nothing , no jobs, no food, nothing at all, also the army and police they are under his control, the officer get paid well, but the rest of the army and police are not educated so they do whatever they been told to do. it’s so bad that they do not care if they kill any one, it’s time for the Egyptian to have a nice honest leader who will work for people not for himself.
    Time for this Mubarak and all his gov to step down now if not I hope the USA and other countries to do something for them. we do not need another rulers for 20 or 30 years it should be reelection each 5 or 4 years like here.

  137. Mark says:

    >>Anonymous | January 27, 2011 10:57 PM | Reply
    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    We do not Forgive.
    We do not Forget.
    Expect us.

  138. Thank you for this interesting report. Though I do not condone any of these desperate government actions to maintain control over their populations, I predict that events like this Egypt internet shut down will eventually inspire people to look into new, alternative, innovative ways of communicating with each other.
    This will pave the way for new technologies to emerge, especially more self-reliant technologies that do not depend on the outside world. Examples of such technologies might be Maharishi’s technologies of consciousness ( or my simple unconditional freedom process (

  139. Mark Rossbach says:

    $10 says David Blaine’s behind this

  140. Leto says:

    I’m sorry but a cowardly threat from “Anonymous” and their band of juvenile deliquent terrorist is laugable at best. What are they going to do, DDoS an Egyption website that’s already offline?
    itt someone doesn’t know what “Anonymous” actually is
    Anonymous is not a person, nor is it a group, movement or cause: Anonymous is a collective of people with too much time on their hands, a commune of human thought and useless imagery. A gathering of sheep and fools, assholes and trolls, and normal everyday netizens. An anonymous collective, left to its own devices, quickly builds its own society out of rage and hate. Anonymous can be anyone from well-meaning college kids with highly idiosyncratic senses of humor trying to save people from Scientology, to devious nihilist hackers, to clever nerds, to thirteen year old boys who speak entirely in in-jokes on an endless quest for porn…[etc.]
    Anonymous is not a single person, but rather, represents the collective whole of the internet.

  141. says:

    other than noor there IS another outside link: microsoft in the smart village, just outside of 6th october city has its own WORKING link.

  142. Steven Michels says:

    The people of Egypt want and need to be free! They will be free. It just depends on how many people will die to be free!

  143. mike says:

    with Oboma the USA might soon turn off the interner along
    with other freedoms,,,,wake up people !

  144. M. Hankins says:

    I have not read all the other comments, but I feel this action would only take one good email passed along to get this same reaction.

  145. etien says:

    etien’s status on Friday, 28-Jan-11 21:03:19 EST

    Quand des citoyens tires du lances-rocket, c’est jamais bon signe.

  146. Thaye says:

    It is bad for all who are personally affected by this (i.e. a large part of the egyptian populacy and anyone who had business relationships to Egypt via internet, I realize this), but ultimately the government is paving the way to its own end with this. Which is then again good, considering the government we are speaking of.
    Egypt will suffer great economic loss if they keep it up for more than just 2 or 3 days, which will lead to arguments and political tension between the government and representatives of the egyptian economy. The government won’t be in charge for long any more if that happens, I believe.
    Always look at the bright side of things, I guess? Sorry, I realize this is a kind of cynical approach.

  147. Blotspace says:

    It’s hard to stay in Egypt with this kind of situation. How about the web industry of Egypt? What will happen then?

  148. says:

    This post has been featured

    This post has been featured on The place to find latest articles on programming. Click on the url to reach your post’s page.

  149. Sox First says:

    Egypt flicks the Internet kill switch: could the same happen here?

    One alarming feature of the upheaval in Egypt is the way president Hosni Mubarek pulled the plug on the Internet,shutting down the country's system and isolating it from the rest of the world. Tech site Mashable has put up…

  150. Fred Baker says:

    Didn’t Myanmar do that in 2007?

  151. Saudi - Riyadh says:

    in Egypt, use alternative dns server such as google public dns servers:, and or other alternative dns. The real headache if the DNS outbound queries are blocked i.e. port 53 etc. or instead use IP addresses for websites instead of domain names but that also not possible for multi-homed websites / servers. Hope all goes well for Egyptians .. btw details on the google public dns is at this page

  152. Chris brown says:

    Any news on whether or not this is a long lasting event or if it’s more or less just a power move?

  153. Haytham says:

    Thank you for this valuable information. Any news if it is up again?

  154. Kevin says:

    Oh, so that’s why Obama needs a kill switch.

  155. Mark says:

    “We need the power to shut off your internet, because of men in turbans across the globe. These are very scary people, you need to give up all your freedoms for your own good.”
    Give me a break.
    This is what tyrants do when the people threaten to remove them from power. It’s part of the chinese model that the oligarchs praise.

  156. @mymulticast says:

    What happenned in Egypt should be a reminder to everyone in the world, that we have to create another solution, we has end users have a right right…this should have never happenned…

  157. Nicole says:

    At some point when the advantages outweigh the threats of violence against laying your own line or building wireless infrastructure, it’ll happen. Just not today for most people..

  158. Tiera says:

    I’ve heard that some people have been doing what they can using the wireline phone system and dialup modems (the cellular system is out of service). Also, as an old ham radio operator myself, it occurred to me that there are probably amateur radio operators inside and outside Egypt running information over informal radio nets.

  159. Egypt Leaves the Internet

    Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international conne…

  160. Robert Watts says:

    People in Egypt may wish to consider using an anonymous, encrypted, decentralized network:

  161. tansy says:

    The first chart is wrong if you want to show that the users went from 3500 to 0.

  162. Smoky says:

    Wow. This is just crazy. I will be watching your RSS feed for any news of this event and how it plays out.

  163. someone says:

    Eh that chart shows 3500 routes to 0 routes, routes are not people, they carry people. Routes are highways or internet corridors that handle traffic. Every time you close a route, traffic has to reroute and packet delivery suffers. If you close all routes, nothing is route able, no traffic moves, it becomes a parking lot.

  164. sewa mobil says:

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

  165. Lee Hollimon says:

    Is there no way to contact any Egyptian to offer condolences/help? I’d like at least one Egyptian that I am behind them and would like to help in my most modest way.
    Thank you,
    Lee Hollimon

  166. derek de jonk says:

    Good fortune go with you, Dr Hassam, and all Egyptian peope of free mind.
    Wish I could offer more than good wishes.

  167. Jason L. Sparks says:

    I didn’t check all eg ASNs, but Telecom Egypt is still down.
    It appears that Noor continues to be (somewhat) accessible. Thanks James for this blog. I’m looking forward to your next comprehensive update.



  169. The Insider says:

    Egypt applies ‘net neutering’ rules!

    Forget all about net neutrality, we’ve now seen the first real example of ‘net neutering’

  170. With four major ISPs in the country, it would be easy to physically disrupt Internet access by just ordering the (probably state-owned) electical company to shut down all sites.
    How hard would it be to cut off a reasonably well-connected economy (say, Belgium) from the Internet? Is this at all possible without using physical violence?

  171. when this situation will finish a lot of ppl dont care abt politic

  172. nagela says:

    how about the overseas people working there.. i have a friend who works there.. we are all worried here in our place.. they should be transparent on everything that is happening in egypt at this moment..

  173. Egypt Internet Blackout – continues, ish…

    Having a quick look at the excellent Renesys blog post (  on the lack of advertised prefixes from Egypt from last week, and thought I’d have a quick look how things are lookin


    Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fibe…

  175. T1 says:

    Inventions of The Egypt Revolution: Emergency Internet Shutdown

    The last, but not the least invention of the Egypt revolution is Country-wide Internet blackout. Local authorities cut the Internet shortly after they realized the way riots were coordinated. Local authorities used their influence to successfully convi…

  176. ron says:

    There is one good point to all this misfortune to the people of Egypt which is that next time they & the rest of the world will be prepared. Forearmed is forewarned any group in the future for or against anything rightly or wrongly if they have any sense will expect this sort of thing to happen. getting CB or amateur radio equipment ex-army radios & maybe aircraft radio equipment & other means of communication, which can be jammed by governments but not so quickly & at the risk of harming their own communications which in reverse could be disrupted in the same way. maybe the next country that has this situation will think carefully about the short term to the long term loss of business which they will suffer, some never to be regained through loss of trust. business will also learn from this & make their own arrangements as will embassies of foreign governments who in the past had high power shortwave radio equipment installed in them. Next time wherever it is should be very interesting if people have learned from this time…

  177. People of Egypt We Hear You

    I spent a few days last year in Egypt Cairo and Luxor. It quickly became very close to my heart. Egypt

  178. E R Wagar says:

    What ever happened to BUY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE and OF THE PEOPLE or am I in the wrong century. I am a writer.

  179. says:

    ham radio – how do you use that?
    in egypt, all radio wave frequencies are owned by the military and needs to get approval from the military intelligence unit.
    yes, that includes walkie talkies, they are illegal in egypt. if they are being sold it is with the turning of the blind eye.

  180. jason says:

    internet seems to be back up, and is back up!
    I don’t know if the civilian ISP’s are back up, or if this is just allowing international business people to have their access back?
    Maybe it’s the google guy’s doing (pure speculation).

  181. We Already Have an Internet ‘Kill Switch’

  182. MaryRose Mercieca says:

    Egypt’ revolt and struggle for deplomacy has been televised and broadcast through all kinds of news, radio, internet, twitter, utub, phones, etc all over the world for the last 10 days. Isn’t it time for politians around the world, to step in and help them., before there are more casualities and injuries.
    With all the updates through modern communication through, CNN news, television, radio, internet, utub, twitter, all kinds of applications systems in the phones, are these sufficient enough to bring aid to the Egypians. Or is communication here just a matter of information. It seems that the Egypians are not getting any help from leaders around the world.

  183. HG says:

    Great job on keeping the world informed people.
    Plans are afoot for if things go wobbly again (anywhere)…

  184. Egypt become more crucial state than ever because you cant progress without being disconnected.

  185. blackhatmagic says:

    act swiftly for the lesser of two evils, when necessary…
    As if Lieberman called VISA, etc. and told them to … you know…

  186. Wie Ägypten den Internet-Stecker zog

    Im Zuge der Proteste hat Ägypten einen für die Netzgemeinde massiven Einschnitt vorgenommen

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