Last Internet provider in Egypt goes dark

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 1, 2011 04:20

SEATTLE  — The last of Egypt's main Internet service providers, the Noor Group, has gone dark.

The Noor Group had remained online even after Egypt's four main Internet providers — Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr — abruptly stopped shuttling Internet traffic into and out of the country Friday morning.

On Monday night, the Noor Group became unreachable, said James Cowie, chief technology officer of Renesys, a security firm based in Manchester, New Hampshire. Renesys monitors massive directories of "routes," or set paths that define how Web traffic moves from one place to another. The Noor Group's routes have disappeared, he said.

Cowie said engineers at the Noor Group and other service providers could quickly shut down the Internet by logging on to certain computers and changing a configuration file. The original Internet blackout on Friday took just 20 minutes to fully go into effect, he said.

Cell phone service was restored in Egypt starting Saturday but text messaging services have been disrupted as protests continue.


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