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The Countries Most Vulnerable To an Internet Shutdown 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the weak-spot dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In the wake of Syria's 52-hour digital blackout last week, the networking firm Renesys performed an analysis of which countries are most susceptible to an Internet shutdown, based simply on how many distinct entities control the connections between the country's networks and those of the outside world. It found that for 61 countries and territories, just one or two Internet service providers maintain all external connections–a situation that could make possible a quick cutoff from the world with a well-placed government order or physical attack."
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The Countries Most Vulnerable To an Internet Shutdown

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  • by war4peace (1628283) on Monday December 03, 2012 @03:42PM (#42172191)

    Because they measured it the wrong way.
    Their measure how many distinct entities control exit and entry nodes. This has no meaning in some cases, such as CHine, as you righteously pointed out. If there are 100 entities controlling such nodes and ALL are immediately listening to a government's order to shut down, then that's worse than a country with TWO distinctly controlled nodes, out of which ZERO listen to a government order.

    Unrelated: My country, Romania, shows as "Resistant".

  • by StueyNZ (2657297) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:17PM (#42172507)
    The most telling comment from the actual orginal post reads:

    "Ten providers also seems to be the threshold below which one finds significant additional risks from infrastructure sharing — there may be a single cable, or a single physical-layer provider who actually owns most of the infrastructure on which the various providers offer their services."

    How many of the 61 at "severe risk" countries are micro-states in the middle of the ocean with a single cable connecting them to the internet? More than half; so nothing too sinister about the size of the "severe risk" category.

    Oh - it's nice to see that New Zealand has cemented its place in the list of nice countries who are "extremely resistant" by having more than 40 ISPs - unfortunately there's only one organisation that controls the two connections out of NZ on the Southern Cross Cable [wikipedia.org] So the home of that fiendish master-criminal Mr K. Dot Com should rightly be lumped in with Syria, Libya & that famous hot bed of international crime, The Cook Islands.
  • Too simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:21PM (#42172537)

    Just basing this on how many connections there are is pretty irrelevant. Are we really expecting there to be many unofficial major backbones crossing national borders? Could you really enumerate them if there were? Even assuming some random people have a line (wired or otherwise) across a border for network access, this is probably not going to route the majority of the country's traffic anyway, and is equally unlikely to be counted in this survey.

    A real measure would be more like "how likely will an entity have to shut down their connection due to government pressure," but for that you need to analyze the legal system, political situation, history, etc. Of course, that's much more work than simple counting, but I suppose "simple counting" is the most we can expect from a pop media source.

  • by mysticalreaper (93971) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:42PM (#42172729)

    Why does Slashdot keep linking to secondary sources, like Forbes.com, when the primary source is so easily available? Laziness would be my first guess.

    Here is the much-better Renesys blog post: http://www.renesys.com/blog/2012/11/could-it-happen-in-your-countr.shtml [renesys.com]

    Questions about their methods of reasoning are the most interesting.

    There may be 5 ISPs, each operating their own logical notwork, with their own IP space, servers, and everything--but they may all share the same physical fibre optic cable out of the country--especially if the country is an Island. New Zealand would be a good example of this: it is about 1500 km from Australia, and 1000 km from Fiji. There are only a few submarine fibre optic cables connecting to the rest of the world. Perhaps Southern Cross Cable [wikipedia.org] and SPIN [wikipedia.org] only?

    The authors acknowledge they were mostly unable to analyse this, and had to guess about the number of physical conduits. They say they will have more to say about the limited physical connections in the future.

  • Re:U.S.A. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:45PM (#42173293)
    Right because we're so much dumber than the rest of the world. Typical superiority-complex having nerd.
  • Re:U.S.A. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tbird81 (946205) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:15PM (#42175049)

    Ask anyone outside of the US to identify 5 unlabeled states. You'll get California, Florida, Nevada and Texas - plus whatever states they've been to.

    Ask a Chinese person to identify the eastern European countries - he won't do to well.
    Ask the average Dutchman to identify countries in Africa - you won't have too much success.

    You are arrogant.

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