Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egypt shut down net with a switch

The Egyptian government shut down most of its country’s internet not by phoning ISPs one at a time, but by simply throwing a switch in a crucial data center in Cairo.

That according to a February presentation to the Department of Homeland Security’s Infosec Technology Transition Council, obtained by

The presentation — made by Bill Woodcock, the research director of the Packet Clearing House — argues that the Egyptian Communciations Ministry acted quite responsibly in the procedure it used to cut ties from the net, after the shutdown was ordered by Egypt’s much-feared intelligence service.
The presentation concludes that the ministry’s course of action in obeying the orders may have some positive effects in the future: “Itʼs unlikely that Egyptʼs communications ministry will ever be asked to flip that switch again.”

Here’s the timeline in the report (verbatim):

Tuesday, January 25:
Amn El Dawla, the State Security Intelligence Service, orders the blocking of Twitter, which was largely accomplished.

Wednesday, January 26:
The State Security Intelligence Service orders the blocking of Facebook, and DNS is blocked but this is not completely effective.

This was the second time they had tried to have Facebook blocked, but the previous attempt had been successfully countered by the communications ministry.

Arrests of people posting to the El Shaheeed and Yom Elsawra 25 January groups on Facebook begin.
 Read the rest of the article.

If Egypt has a switch, what does the high-tech U.S. government have?

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