Technology

Libya removes itself from the net

Libyan rebels, Reuters
Net access in Libya that was intermittent is now non-existent, report web analysis firms

As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed.

Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libyan net space.

Renesys said the outage was more than just a "blip" as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours.

Net traffic into and out of the country had been intermittent during recent protests but the cut coincided with a push to oust rebels.

During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government.

Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.

This changed late in the evening of 3 March when net traffic stopped flowing into and out of the troubled nation.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, said the approach to cutting net links was different to that taken by Egypt.

While all routers reported that lines to Libya were live, any traffic sent was not reaching its destination and was probably being "blackholed", said Mr Ferguson.

Attempts to trace the routes that traffic could take into the country ended a hop short of official Libyan net space, said Mr Ferguson.

This meant that not only was Libya cut off from the net, but those inside the country would not be able to send messages or browse sites either.

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