Syria's Internet Goes Dark
Online traffic disappears, with no official explanation
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2013 6:27 PM CDT
In this May 5 photo, opposition forces stand near the wreckage of a military helicopter, left, in Deir el-Zour, Syria.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

(Newser) – A major Internet security firm issued this ominous-sounding assessment today: "On closer inspection it seems Syria has largely disappeared from the internet." That's from Dan Hubbard at Umbrella Security Labs, and other monitoring companies have similarly reported that web traffic in the country has disappeared, notes the Guardian. The most common speculation is that Bashar al-Assad cut it on purpose to stymie the opposition, though it's possible there could be a more mundane explanation, like damaged infrastructure.

The web was down for two days in November, too, with both sides blaming the other for the disruption. BuzzFeed has charts showing the dramatic falloff in service today. The development comes a day after pro-Syrian hackers took over the Twitter feed of, weirdly, the Onion. Boing Boing, however, thinks the Onion's response was better than any of the fake tweets.

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$28919642
May 8, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Or the whole thing could have been shut down by a stray artillery round. Or there was a fire, in a town that no longer has firefighters, due to the war. Or an Islamist, determining by odd ball means that the Interwebs wuz sinful tossed a grenade into an essential server. Or too many college-educated people fled the country, & the web can no longer be maintained.
ChicagoScott
May 8, 2013 12:23 AM CDT
Internet attacks are the weapon of the future. Now I'm not sure if it would be possible, but imagine for a moment America was taken offline---it could be paralyzing. Banking transactions, stores ordering restocks of supplies, dissemination of information---could be disrupted. It would be the worst disaster in the history of the world.
No-Left-Turn
May 7, 2013 10:12 PM CDT
All our enemies would need to do against the U.S. is shut down Facebook, Twitter, and cell phone texting to get every teen in America to suicide.