The Iranian Government hasn’t taken the recent protest demonstrations from their citizens lightly. It was reported four days ago that the Government had shut down all internet services for 80 million people. There has been international concern regarding the Iranian Government for decades, with their own citizens only recently speaking out. After the quality of life depleted rapidly across Iran and fuel prices soared to new heights, protests began nationwide. In efforts to stop any unwanted information from being released internationally, the Iranian Government blocked all internet connections outside of Government-Affiliated buildings. Subsequently, there have been multiple Iranian Immigrants who haven’t been able to contact their family members back home. This is especially difficult for families in Iran that depend on their immigrated children to send money via online transfers. Significant concerns are arising that those families will shortly not be able to eat or fend for themselves.
The information that the Iranian Government first blocked off universal access to the internet came when Netblocks, an internet monitoring non-profit organization saw the immediate decline in usage. It’s estimated that the impact of four days without internet is beginning to have significant impacts nationwide, with businesses unable to get products and people losing their online jobs. It’s estimated that only 5% of Iranian Citizens have access to the internet via a satellite connection.
Monitoring global internet patterns is a challenging task. Before Netblocks became an operational non-profit organization, corporations tracking global internet patterns required satellites. That was forever changed when Netblocks began accumulating the data through Mobile Phone Towers, Servers, Routers and other communication devices. Netblocks send millions of secret messages to these communication devices, which then pingback to the Netblocks internal towers. This enables the monitoring organization to see how many pings are active worldwide and subsequently, how many are connected to the internet. When all the pings in Iran immediately dropped on the grid, Netblocks knew something wasn’t right.
Netblocks noted that the difficulty of stopping public internet isn’t simple; multiple corporations link together to create a massive network. This means all corporations would have had to shut down their systems simultaneously. It appears that the Iranian Government already had this plan in place as a failsafe. Netblocks also noted that the Iranian Government shutdown the telecommunications firm at the Institute of Physics and Mathematics in Iran. This means that even service employees like firefighters, police officers and paramedics don’t have access to an online network. Many people could be losing their lives as a result.