Libya shut down Internet access again on March 3, but it's using a new technique to throttle down network traffic even though it appears the nation's Web servers are still technically up and running.
Internet connectivity again on March 3, according to multiple traffic monitors.
to Google and YouTube traffic both flat-lined starting about 11 a.m. Eastern
time, or 7 p.m. Libya time on March 3, and this has continued since, according
to the Google Transparency Report
there had been a dramatic increase in YouTube traffic in the days just before
monitoring firm Renesys started receiving reports March. 4 that Libyans in
Tripoli were unable to use the Internet, but saw nothing unusual in the BGP
(Border Gateway Protocol) routing table, wrote James Cowie, the chief
technology officer of Renesys, on the company's blog
tracking Libya's outage. "All
Libyan routes up and stable," he wrote.
routes indicated there was no data-packet traffic flowing on the otherwise open
routes. Renesys tried several Web sites known to be hosted in Libya, including
government Web sites, and got no response, Cowie said.
like a post-apocalyptic scenario where the roads are there, there just isn't
any traffic," Cowie told the International Business Times.
Libya went dark
on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 for about seven
hours each day in a regular pattern that implied a curfew rather than a total
blackout. Like the Egypt shutdown, Libyan ISPs just turned off their servers to
prevent people from going online. The current shutdown is different because
servers are up and responding to "ping" requests, said Cowie.
Libyan telecommunications operators appear to be throttling down the network
bandwidth to restrict traffic, much in the same way the ISP would cut off users
when they exceeded their monthly data limit, Cowie said.
"Every time I
think that someone has a way to shut down the Internet they come up with a new
way," Cowie told IBT.
of Libya Telecom & Technology, the country's leading ISP, is none other
than Muhammad Gadhafi, the eldest son of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
outage follows weeks of reduced traffic volumes, according Arbor Networks,
which monitors global Internet traffic using data from more than 100 ISPs in
its ATLAS network.
down servers and withdrawing the BGP routes is basically hitting an Internet
kill switch, Libya's latest technique is more analogous to a strong firewall
rule. Even though most of the population can't get online, the technique
theoretically allows some systems and users, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, for example,
to continue using the Internet.
Egyptian shutdown, Google enabled a "speak to tweet
" service that allowed users to
call a phone number that would appear on Twitter. There has been no such
service announced for Libya. It may not be as effective, as mobile phones have
been working sporadically for at least a week, according to Al-Jazeera.
there are a number of alternatives being shared on Twitter for Libyans to get
online, such as a free dial-up account
provided by organizations in
Europe. XS4ALL, a "hacker-friendly" Internet service provider based
in the Netherlands, opened up its modem lines for free during the previous
curfew, but there had been no activity from Libya on the account, XS4ALL's
Niels Huijbregts told eWEEK.