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Libyan civil war sees Internet decline

March 11, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

Civil war in Libya has lead to Internet disconnection (Image: file photo)

As civil war appears to engulf Libya, access to the Internet by the country’s citizens continues to be problematic and nearly non-existent, analysts and observers have noted.

Two weeks ago, as protests were in full swing, the government of Muammar Gaddafi pulled the plug on Internet activity, leaving much of the country in the dark with the outside world.

According to Google in a recent statement, Internet service in the country is intermittent and functioning at minimal levels, but the overall access remains off.

“I have been in constant contact with people on the ground and they say they have a signal, but nothing is going through,” said Jack Rimner, a British telecom expert based in London who has been following the IT fallout in Libya.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, agreed that Internet traffic is most likely being “blackholed.”

“Every Libyan website (by this I mean sites hosted in Libya, www.bit.ly for example is still live) that I tested was unreachable, with traffic simply failing to get a response after the last hop on the Internet backbone outside the Libyan address space,” he wrote in a blog post.

“The best analogy I can think of is that, although the figurative canal system is still in place to get traffic to the right destination, Libya simply pulled the plug and drained the water.”

By Jonathan Terry

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