Why Did Syria Shut Down the Internet?

The World Wide Web became a little less worldwide on Tuesday afternoon. Suddenly, Syria disappeared, at least from the perspectives of Google and Akamai. Nineteen hours later, it appears to have come back on. How was it turned off? Four fibre-optic lines carry Internet traffic in and out of the country. Perhaps, as the government says, the rebels cut them all. Or perhaps four scavengers simultaneously digging for copper wrenched their spades in at the same time. But most likely, President Bashar al-Assad did the deed. The government also flipped the kill switch last fall, and security firms report that the shutdown comes from sophisticated engineering, not coördinated slicing or accidental shovelling.The Internet has become a battlefield in every modern conflict. Russia and Georgia fought a cyber war as well as a real one. Last year, in Gaza, Israel warned its citizens that location data in their tweets could help Hamas target rockets. The Internet is a great place for information and for propaganda; it stores our secrets and supports our power grids. The distinction between a war with guns and a war with bits is blurring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.