The Syrian government claims it’s working to repair yesterday’s widespread Internet blackout. State-run media are reporting that a “fault in optical fibre cables” disconnected the beleaguered Middle-Eastern nation from the rest of the digital world. But, multiple experts are calling the oppressive regime on its BS. Michelle Zatlyn of security firm, Cloudflare, which identified Syria’s blackout yesterday, tells Techcrunch in an email that the incident is “almost certainly intentional. It is unlikely to be an accident.”
Product Line Director for Enterprise firm Akamai explained, “Our monitoring shows that Syria’s international internet connectivity is through at least four providers, and published submarine cable maps show connectivity through three active cables.” In other words, Syria has redundant backup systems; all would have had to fail for it to be an accident.
Zatlyn further clarifies why it’s most likely the government:
“Syria is a country that has a small number of internationally-connected carriers, in this case one. This means that a small number of companies control access from Syria’s Internet to the rest of the Internet. When control is consolidated, it means that it is easy to turn off access to the Internet for citizens – either accidentally or intentionally. The telco in Syria is Syria Telecom and they are state-owned.”
In past Internet outages, U.S. officials have also placed the blame squarely on the government, which has become increasingly violent against its rebelling citizens, “That is the reason why our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, we put a special emphasis on communications equipment precisely to help the Syrian people tell the world what is going on inside Syria,” said U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.
So, while it’s not likely that many people bought a government-controlled media station’s excuse, it’s nice to know exactly why the government’s explanation is probably BS. The more you know.