From How Egypt shut down the internet - Telegraph Organisations that track global internet access detected a collapse in traffic in to and out of Egypt at around 10.30GMT on Thursday night. The shut down involved the withdrawal of more than 3,500 Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes by Egyptian ISPs, according to Renesys, a networking firm. Only one ISP out of 10, Noor Data Networks, appeared largely unaffected. It connects to the outside world via an undersea cable operated by Telecom Italia. According to BGPMon, another networking firm, 88 per cent of Egyptian internet access was successfully shut down, however. Renesys speculated that the apparent anomaly of Noor Data Networks may be a result of the fact it provides services to the Egyptian stock exchange. BGP routes are one of the most vital parts of the internet. They are mostly used by ISPs so their networks can exchange information about how to best route the packets of data that make up all internet communications. If an ISP withdraws its BGP routes, its customers effectively disappear from the internet, unable to access websites and services, send and receive email, or use voice services such as Skype. The Egyptian government’s action is unprecedented in the history of the internet. Countries such as China, Iran, Thailand and Tunisia have cut off access to news websites and social networking services during periods of unrest, as Egypt did when it cut off Facebook and Twitter earlier this week. The ongoing attempt by the Egyptian government to shut down all online communication is, however, a new phenomenon. It not only prevents ordinary Egyptian internet users from accessing any websites, it cripples Tor, an anti-censorship tool that technical experts and activists were using to circumvent the Facebook and Twitter blocks. The action puts Egypt, temporarily at least, in the company of North Korea, which has never allowed its citizens access to the internet. And from Egypt 'shuts down Internet' amid further protests; Facebook web traffic drops | ZDNet With further protests planned and growing pressure on Egyptian leaders to resign after alleged human rights violations, it is believed that the Egyptian government has ’shut down’ the Internet in the region. While access directly to the Facebook and Twitter websites are inaccessible from within Egypt, protesters are circumventing the blocks in place by using mobile applications which still work. Proxy websites are also being used, as they mask the address of website, allowing those to access social networking sites. But as the blocking measures are failing, it appears that Egypt has sanctioned measures to ’shut down’ web access, fearing the same reprisals as seen in Tunisia earlier this month where the government collapsed and the president was forced into exile. Further protests have been organised to take place tomorrow, said to be the largest yet. Egypt’s interior ministry said it will take “decisive measures” against protesters. It is also reported that SMS messages are also being blocked, amid further anti-government protests. DSL, landline and 3G services are said to have been taken offline in Cairo, according to one CNN reporter. Associated Press reporters are also suffering outages in the region. Reuters reports that Facebook has seen a significant drop in traffic to Facebook from Egypt, suggesting that social networks have been a factor in the rise in protests. “We are aware of reports of disruption to service and have seen a drop in traffic from Egypt this morning”, a Facebook spokesperson said. The US government, an ally of Egypt, called on the Egyptian authorities to unblock the social media sites that have been used to organise the anti-government protests, arguing the government should “not prevent peaceful protests or block communications”. . ------------------------- This is very interesting in that the country has pretty effectively shutdown most internet access and is extending the shutdown into the cellular and landline areas too. Via the methods they used, it would not be that much more difficult to do the same here in the US or in any country for that matter. Shut down the main internet and communication transfer points and you'd lock out most of the US. Convice the top tier providers (AT&T, Sprint & Verizon) to go along with you nd it would be pretty easy. Unfortunately I'm sure the gov already has a blueprint for doing this. For all practical purposes it now looks like you can consider Egypt to be the Beta or test case of how to do it.