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September 25, 2013 Comments (28) Views: 2117 Africa, Politics, Situational Awareness

Internet Blackout in Sudan

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Update (8:01 ET, 26 Sep):

A few hours ago, we observed a total Internet blackout in Sudan and, as we publish this blog, the Internet remains largely unavailable. By count of impacted networks, it is the largest national blackout since Egypt disconnected itself in January 2011. The massive outage came as the government began a violent crackdown on protests triggered by the government’s decision to end fuel subsidies. SD_outa_1380088800

Previous National Blackouts

National Internet blackouts in recent years have taken a variety of forms. For example, in the case of Egypt in January 2011, we observed all Egyptian routed networks withdrawn from the global routing table within a few minutes. During the revolution in Libya, the routes generally stayed up, but nearly all Libyan traffic was blocked at the border. Myanmar experienced a brief national outage last month in which all of its routes were withdrawn during a several week period of Internet disruptions. And as civil war rages in Syria, this country has experienced a number of national outages, starting in June 2011. These have often involved the withdrawal of routed networks, although Syria’s latest outage in Aleppo was only evident due to the loss of one of the state telecom’s international providers.

Today’s Outage in Sudan

In Sudan’s case today, we observe a combination of tactics used to shutdown the Internet. As shown to the right, Sudan connects to the global Internet through three international gateways: Sudatel (the Sudanese incumbent), Sudanese Mobile (Zain), and Canar Telecom. Sudan_Internet

We initially stated that Sudan’s outage began at 12:47 UTC because that was when virtually all Sudanese routed networks were withdrawn from the global routing table. However, once we plotted our active measurement data, we observed traffic into Sudan dropping off dramatically 2.5 hours earlier at 10:23 UTC — the same time as an earlier outage by Sudatel. This drop in traffic was independently confirmed by CDN provider Akamai. In the graphic below, we see the success rate of latency measurements into the networks of Zain and Sudatel drop off at 10:23 UTC, only to momentarily recover before ceasing entirely for Zain at 12:47 UTC (marked with the red arrow):

sudatel zain
Our active measurements also reveal that traffic stopped moving through Canar Telecom at 11:52 UTC and, unlike Sudatel and Zain, was restored at 15:19 UTC. At the time of this writing, Canar is the only international gateway connecting Sudan to the global Internet. SD-2.traces.ASedges.upstreamsof33788

Conclusion

Our plots of connectivity clearly show that Sudatel and Zain experienced identical outage timelines, while Canar’s total blackout followed a somewhat different schedule. This difference in timing implies that this event was not caused by a single catastrophic technical failure, but strongly suggests a coordinated action to remove Sudan from the Internet. As we close out this post, the primary provider into Sudan, the incumbent Sudatel, is still offline. Hopefully, full connectivity will soon be restored. Follow our twitter feed for the latest developments.

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28 Responses to Internet Blackout in Sudan

  1. […] be cut off.  We saw this in Egypt in 2011 and now Sudan.  This picture and the post from Renesys shows that Sudan has 3 gateways from the outside that control all internet into […]

  2. […] has commented on the timing of these […]

  3. […] is all over the Internet today about a total Internet blackout in Sudan.  Here is the proof.  Complete and partial Internet blackouts or disruptions have been seen in the past in Egypt, […]

  4. […] monitoring company Renesys claimed, in a blog post, that the internet blackout has affected the whole country and claiming that it is the largest […]

  5. […] dos empresas estadounidenses que vigilan el estado de internet en todo el mundo. Una de ellas, Renesys, informó en su cuenta de la red social Twitter y en su blog que a las 12.45 GMT las conexiones con […]

  6. […] media. This theory was later backed up by the internet monitoring firm Renesys, which said in a blog post that the outage was almost certainly […]

  7. […] dos empresas estadounidenses que vigilan el estado de internet en todo el mundo. Una de ellas, Renesys, informó en su cuenta de la red social Twitter y en su blog que a las 12.45 GMT las conexiones con […]

  8. elmukashfi says:

    The Internet is back since 10 AM GMT https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151716713894023&l=137f72c73a

  9. BuySellBandwidth says:

    Many governments still don’t realize how important access to the Internet is to their citizens.  There is a general belief among some government officials that Internet is all about social media — which actually represents a fraction of the total traffic.  Read my blog on a possible solution to this governmental behavior at http://bit.ly/16CewxI

  10. AhmadDoe says:

    They also blocked social media sms services (Twitter 40404 and Facebook 32665), as almost all those ISPs are cellular service providers as well -except for Canar! I guess that proves a political censorship indecent, if still in doubt!

  11. […] questa la spiegazione offerta dalla società d’intelligence Renesys, i cui analisti hanno sottolineato come […]

  12. […] questa la spiegazione offerta dalla società d’intelligence Renesys, i cui analisti hanno sottolineato come […]

  13. […] 发表于 2013 年 9 月 28 日 由 lqc 过去几天,在苏丹政府取消汽油补贴导致价格几乎翻了一番之后,苏丹各地举行了反政府游行示威。根据 Renesys对互联网流量的监测,苏丹政府在周三UTC时间12:47切断了互联网,所有苏丹路由网络从全球路由表撤回。网络在当地时间周四才恢复正常。这是自埃及、利比亚和叙利亚之后,发生的又一起政府试图阻止抗议者利用社交网络组织抗议而有意切断网络的事件。切断网络并没有反政府示威,精于技术的工程师创建了Abena crowd map,利用短信根据目击者提供的信息报导屠杀、拘留、开火和示威等事件。苏丹政府已证实有至少50人死亡,而当地消息来源和活动人士则估计死亡人数超过100。非洲正义与和平研究中心和大赦国际呼吁苏丹安全部队立即停止暴力镇压。 […]

  14. […] Internet Blackout in Sudan {Renesys} […]

  15. […] Additionally, Internet routes into and out of Sudan appeared to shut down simultaneously at the height of the protests, according to Internet monitoring company Renesys. […]

  16. […] Additionally, Internet routes into and out of Sudan seemed to close down concurrently during a tallness of a protests, according to Internet monitoring association Renesys. […]

  17. […] damage to national networks and ultimately causing a blackout. US-based network monitoring firm Renesys said it could not determine who was responsible for the shutdown, but suggested that government […]

  18. […] 9月底苏丹网路断线长达24小时,「近乎完全」瘫痪,许多人相信这是政府对早先青年抗议政权的回应。根据《苏丹论坛报》(Sudan Tribune)的报导,苏丹在美国的大使馆发布声明,否认政府涉及网路断讯事务,并表示主因是因为抗议者纵火破坏卡纳尔(Canar)电信公司大楼,使全国网路受到影响,才会因此造成断网。位于美国的网路监测公司Renesys则表示无法确定断网的主要因素为何,不过暗示可能有政府力量在其中运作。由于断网波及全国所有的电信供应商(卡纳尔公司是其中之一),Renesys资深分析师马多里(Doug Madory)这样形容此次的事件:「如果不是政府主导,就是一次时间点非常巧妙,刚好紧接在市区的抗议事件后的技术故障惨剧」。上一次可以与之相提并论的断网情形,要回溯到2011年的埃及。 […]

  19. […] را کاملاً از اینترنت جدا نماید. کشورهایی مانند مصر و سودان به عنوان یک عارضۀ جانبی قدرت مرکزی اینترنت را قطع […]

  20. […] September, Sudan went off the global internet map for 24 hours. American network monitoring expert Renesys could not determine who was responsible for the shutdown, but suggested that government actors were the most likely […]

  21. […] anti-government demonstrations triggered by fuel subsidy cutbacks. Network monitoring firm Renesys called this “the largest national blackout since Egypt disconnected itself in January 2011.”  The […]

  22. […] والتي تعنى بمراقبة حالة الإنترنت، أن هذا القطع هو الأكبر من نوعه بعد قطع الحكومة المصرية للإنترنت في يناير / كانون […]

  23. […] والتي تعنى بمراقبة حالة الإنترنت، أن هذا القطع هو الأكبر من نوعه بعد قطع الحكومة المصرية للإنترنت في يناير / كانون […]

  24. […] by citizen journalists of state brutality toward peaceful protestors caused the NCP to panic and shut down the global internet on September 25, only to restore it 24 hours later with much slower speeds impeding many from […]

  25. […] lost connection to the Internet for a period of nearly 24 hours in what Renesys is calling the largest national disruption since Egypt’s Internet shutdown in 2011. Sudan connects to the […]

  26. […] and video. Internet access in Sudan was cut off on Sept. 25 for almost 24 hours, according to Renesys, an Internet-monitoring […]

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