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. (Read more Syria stories.)

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