By this afternoon, Syria has disappeared from the internet! Traffic has literally stopped!
While there have been no new military attacks on Syria since Sunday morning, something more peculiar happened in the past few hours, when according to Akamai and various other Internet traffic trackers, Syria has literally gone “dark“, or, as Umbrella Security Labs describes it, as if “Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet.”
At around 18:45 UTC OpenDNS resolvers saw a significant drop in traffic from Syria. On closer inspection it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the Internet. There have been numerous incidents where access to and from the Internet in Syria was shut down. Shutting down Internet access to and from Syria is achieved by withdrawing the BGP routes from Syrian prefixes. The graph below shows the sudden drop in visibility for Syrian network prefixes.
Routing on the Internet relies on the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP distributes routing information and makes sure all routers on the Internet know how to get to a certain IP address. When an IP range becomes unreachable it will be withdrawn from BGP, this informs routers that the IP range is no longer reachable.
For example, one of the name servers for the DNS zone .SY is ns1.tld.sy with IP address 188.8.131.52.
Normally our routers would expect a BGP route for 184.108.40.206/18
Currently that route has disappeared and we no longer have a way to reach the Nameservers for .SY that reside in Syria and in parallel news, we are hearing unconfirmed reports that mobile connections have been cut off as well.
This could very well be a preamble to a major offensive by forces aligned against Assad or more curiously could also impact the rebel forces more, as they rely more heavily on internet for command and control efforts. We all should pay close attention over the next 48 hours. Something ugly is coming Syria’s way, no doubt.