In what appears to be a desperate last attempt to disrupt widespread protests and halt civil war, the Libyan authorities appear again to have pulled the plug on all internet communications in and out of the country.
Libya was "abruptly disconnected" from the internet around a fortnight ago after protests flared up against the country's dictator Moamer Kadhafi, according to data from network security firm Arbor Networks.
However, internet services had slowly started coming back online in the intervening period, according to many sources.
As of Thursday afternoon, though, all traffic in and out of the country appears to have been halted again. Data from Google's Transparency Report - which provides information about traffic to Google services around the world - shows a huge drop at 5pm GMT on Thursday with services yet to recover.
Internet monitoring firm Rensys updated in a blog post on Friday. "Our last successful traceroute into Libya was shortly after 16:35 UTC," the firm wrote. "So it looks like this is more than a blip -- radio silence for 12 hours and counting."
It seems likely that the Libyan government is to blame for the outage, being as it controls the country's main ISP Libya Telecom and Technology, whose web site is also offline.
Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, agreed that internet traffic is most likely being ‘blackholed'.
"Every Libyan website (by this I mean sites hosted in Libya, www.bit.ly for example is still live) that I tested was unreachable, with traffic simply failing to get a response after the last hop on the internet backbone outside the Libyan address space," he wrote in a blog post.
"The best analogy I can think of is that, although the figurative canal system is still in place to get traffic to the right destination, Libya simply pulled the plug and drained the water."
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