It has been a rough few weeks for the global Internet, given numerous submarine cable failures and the largest DDOS attack ever reported. While we’re hard-pressed to find evidence of the purported global Internet slowdown due to the DDOS attack, the dramatic impacts of yesterday’s SMW4 submarine cable cut were profound. Recent reports that the cable break was the result of sabotage make the incident even more intriguing. In this blog, we detail what happened to some of the providers in four countries along the route of the cable: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India.
This morning, South Korean authorities reported that they have been the victims of a cyber attack which impacted TV News organizations as well as banking institutions.
Renesys can confirm that at least some of today’s incidents escalated to the point of global visibility, as both South and North Koreans networks experienced actual disconnections. We note similarly timed outages affecting South Korea’s largest natural gas company.
|Earlier this morning,
North Korea accused the United States of conducting a cyber attack that disrupted their Internet connectivity. While the details remain unknown, we can confirm that, in the last two days, North Korea’s sole Internet provider has had ongoing problems staying connected to the global Internet. We’ll summarize some of our evidence in this blog entry.
|Last month, Wired.com‘s fascinating geological sciences blog, Eruptions, cast doubt on the purported cause of the December 23, 2012 failure of the Georgia-Russia submarine cable. That is, the author of the Eruptions blog post thought it unlikely to have been due to an undersea volcanic eruption. Without weighing in on the likelihood of active volcanoes in the Black Sea, we tweeted about some of the Internet impacts of this incident, although in 140 characters, we could only scratch the surface.|
|The Internet of Bangladesh has been connected to the world by a single submarine cable, Sea-Me-We 4 (SMW4), since this 18,800 kilometer-long optical-fiber system made its landing at Cox’s Bazar in 2006. However, in the nearly seven years since SMW4′s activation, national Internet outages have plagued Bangladesh with some regularity. When their portion of this system is sabotaged, suffers a failure or is down for maintenance, virtually all Internet bandwidth for the 7th most populous country in the world disappears, forcing local providers to fall back to slow and expensive satellite services or to simply wait for restoration.However, recent national outages due to planned SMW4 maintenance have revealed that some Bangladeshi providers have now activated a long-awaited second connection to the Internet via a terrestrial link to India. We’ll examine this new development here and highlight those providers who can now offer fault-tolerant Internet service for the first time in Bangladesh.|
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Recent developments captured in a new blog here. (January 22, 2013)
|In February 2011, the first submarine cable connecting the island nation of Cuba to the global internet (by way of Venezuela) landed on Siboney beach, Santiago de Cuba. In the two years since, the fate of the cable has been a mystery for Cuba observers. In the past week, our global monitoring system has picked up indications that this cable has finally been activated, although in a rather curious way, as we explain below.|
It is an annual tradition at Renesys to provide a year-end review of how the Internet providers at the top of our Market Intelligence global AS rankings fared over the previous year. The Internet remains a huge blind spot for many organizations that are buying Internet access. Market Intelligence provides the insight into who the leaders in the Internet transit marketplace are today and how they have changed over time. Back in 2008, we chose to look at the 13 providers that spent at least some time in the Top Ten that year,hence the name “Baker’s Dozen“. We looked at the top players again in 2009, 2010 and 2011. A lot has changed over the years and for 2012, we welcome two new members to this exclusive club,PCCW and XO. As predicted last year, we also say good-bye to a declining AT&T and Savvis. While AT&T’s departure from the top of the global stage may be surprising to some, Savvis really hasn’t left as it is now part of CenturyLink, which also owns Qwest. And while Qwest did leave our top global rankings in 2011, they have now returned as part of a reinvigorated CenturyLink.
As you read this blog, keep in mind that all of the rankings we discuss are relative to IPv4, the Internet protocol carrying over 99% of all Internet traffic. (For example, compare total traffic to IPv6 traffic at the very busy Amsterdam Internet Exchange.) While we did also review IPv6 rankings last year, so little has changed that we’ll just refer you to that blog or, for more current information, our Market Intelligence product offering which covers both IPv4 and IPv6 in detail. So let’s dive in and highlight a few of the trends and changes we observed in 2012.
Renesys confirms a largely complete restoration of the Syrian Internet this morning, starting at 14:32:10 UTC (16:32 local time in Damascus).
Transit providers for the full prefix set do not appear to be significantly changed, with Internet service being provided post-restoration by Telecom Italia, Tata Communications, Turk Telecom, and PCCW.
|Here’s a view of live Syrian prefix counts during the outage and restoration, from 29 November to 1 December:|
How hard is it to disconnect a country from the Internet, really?
That’s the number one question we’ve received about our analysis of the Egyptian and Syrian Internet blackouts, and it’s a reasonable question. If the Internet is so famously resilient, designed to survive wars and calamities, how can it fail so abruptly and completely at the national level?
The key to the Internet’s survival is the Internet’s decentralization — and it’s not uniform across the world. In some countries, international access to data and telecommunications services is heavily regulated. There may be only one or two companies who hold official licenses to carry voice and Internet traffic to and from the outside world, and they are required by law to mediate access for everyone else.
Under those circumstances, it’s almost trivial for a government to issue an order that would take down the Internet. Make a few phone calls, or turn off power in a couple of central facilities, and you’ve (legally) disconnected the domestic Internet from the global Internet. Of course, this level of centralization also makes it much harder for the government to defend the nation’s Internet infrastructure against a determined opponent, who knows they can do a lot of damage by hitting just a few targets.