All the countries where someone managed to shut down the entire internet - and why they did it
- Taking down an entire country's internet service is easier than you think. It happens hundreds of times each year.
- Many shutdowns occur at the behest of dictators in corrupt developing countries.
- But the largest takedowns have been in the US (by hackers) and in India (by the police).
- Here's a list of all the most recent occasions on which the internet has been removed on a national or regional basis.
In May this year, Russia passed a law to create its own parallel mirror version of the web that would allow the country to cut its web connections with the rest of the world but stay online internally. The measure is officially intended to safeguard Russia's ability to keep its internet running in the event of an attack. But it is widely regarded as a tool through which the Russian government will be able to take down part, or all, of the internet as traffic is funneled through points that the Russian government controls.It turns out that ending internet service - web, email, social media, mobile phone data, apps - for an entire country is easier than you'd think. It happens frequently. And not just in corrupt dictatorships like Russia.
Last year, there were 196 large-scale internet shutdowns in 25 countries, according to Access Now. India was the worst offender. It shut down the internet 134 times.Here are all the recent occasions where someone has taken an entire country offline (or a major section of one), and why it happened.
United States: The 2016 Mirai attack was the largest internet outage in history.
Ethiopia: 97% without internet service following a failed coup.Advertisement
The Republic of Ingushetia, Russia: two-week web shutdown stymies protests in border dispute with Chechnya.
Mauritania: "in the midst of a near-total internet blackout".Advertisement
Sudan: a "blockade on information in and out of Sudan."
Chad: President Deby turns off the internet for an entire year.Advertisement
Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro blacks out the internet when his main opponent speaks.
Zimbabwe: After 8 people were killed in protests over rising fuel prices in January, President Emmerson Mnangagwa shut down the internet.Advertisement
Liberia: British hacker disables internet in attempt to help rival company.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Internet goes down one day after a national election.Advertisement
Kazakhstan: Daily blackouts whenever one man speaks
Turkey: 12 million taken offline.Advertisement
India: 134 internet blackouts in 2018 alone.
Here's a summary of all internet shutdowns in 2018.Advertisement
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