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Syria disappears from Internet

War-ravaged nation shows drastic drop in inbound and outbound Web traffic

Syria disappears from Internet
The New York Times claimed security researchers blamed the Syrian government.

Syria disappeared from the Internet for almost 14 hours yesterday amid an escalating civil war. The country was disconnected from the global Internet for 13 hours and 54 minutes according to Google Transparency Reports.

The country experienced a similar, but less severe, outage in January when it was disconnected from the rest of the world for 3 hours and 37 minutes.

Internet security firm OpenDNS said on its website that at around 18:45 UTC its resolvers saw a significant drop in traffic from Syria.

"On closer inspection, it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet," it said.

The firm said that the drop in inbound and outbound traffic from Syria was clearly visible.

Dan Hubbard, CTO at Umbrella Security Labs, an arm of OpenDNS, said in a blog post that the shutdown had effectively disconnected Syria from Internet communication with the rest of the world.

"It's unclear whether Internet communication within Syria is still available. Although we can't yet comment on what caused this outage, past incidents were linked to both government-ordered shutdowns and damage to the infrastructure, which included fibre cuts and power outages," he added.

Although no confirmed cause has been reported for the outage, The New York Times claimed security researchers named the Syrian government as the most likely culprit. The experts explained that Syria is connected to the Internet through three undersea cables and one overland cable that runs through Turkey. They pointed out that for "outsiders" to cause the loss in service, "they would have had to physically cut all four cables simultaneously".

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