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.Hackers in the US once managed to take America's entire Eastern Seaboard offline for several hours.
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.