Egypt Comes Back Online

Posted February 2nd, 2011 at 1:25 pm (UTC-4)
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The Internet Fights Back Against a Blackout, and Wins

Early reports Wednesday morning are that Egyptian ISPs have reversed course and are once again making Egypt visible to the Internet.

Real-time graph showing the Egyptian ISPs reconnecting through Border Gateway Protocol to the Internet. (Courtesy: the Renesys Corporation)

The Renesys Corporation, which was the first to note and track Egypt’s erasing of the BGP maps into and out of the nation, is now confirming an about-face.

Co-founder James Cowie, writing on Renesys blog, notes:

“Egyptian Internet providers returned to the Internet at 09:29:31 UTC (11:29am Cairo time). Websites such as the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Commercial International Bank of Egypt, MCDR, and the US Embassy in Cairo, are once again reachable.  All major Egyptian ISPs appear to have readvertised routes to their domestic customer networks in the global routing table.”

Earlier this week we discussed just how Egyptian authorities managed to pull the entire nation off-line, using the much-discussed but never-before-attempted trick of erasing the “map” of Egyptian computer nodes and addresses from the Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP, lists.

Speaking with VOA on Tuesday, Cowie referred to this tactic as “…a weapon never used before on this scale.”  He said it was his hope the lesson other nations draw from this is that “…it’s better to stay connected to the Internet” rather than risk social and economic turmoil.

We’ll have much more on this developing story soon.  In the meantime, Renesys prepared this animation, illustrating the minute-by-minute departure of Egypt’s service providers from the global routing table on Friday.

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