Blackout of Egypt internet cost millions in lost revenue


The shutdown in Egypt of internet access has cost the nation an estimated $90 million in lost revenue. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The five-day blackout in Egypt of internet connection made the entire nation go dark. Social networking sites and communications were lost, but the crackdown on communications by the government cost something more. It is estimated that Egypt lost up to $90 million in revenue.

Millions lost as government shuts down Egypt’s internet

The reason the government of Egypt shut down internet access was to try to control the escalating protests in Cairo and other cities throughout Egypt. The nation went dark online for five days. The desired effect of stifling protests was not achieved, but it did hurt online commerce, according to Forbes. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, released an estimate that the economy of Egypt has lost somewhere between $80 million and $90 million as a result of Egypt’s internet being shut down by the Mubarak regime. However, that estimate does not include the value of job outsourcing, which contributes about $1 billion per year, $3 million per day, to the Egyptian economy.

Hacktavist group resumes denial of service attacks

The internet “hacktavist” group Anonymous has resumed carrying out Directed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks on various Egyptian and Yemeni websites, according to MSNBC. In a DDoS attack, members coordinate to launch a multitude of simultaneous requests for information from websites of companies or governments. Billions of phony requests for information start hitting the targeted websites at once. The websites cannot handle the increased traffic and temporarily shut down, which can cost millions in lost revenue. Anonymous has also launched DDoS attacks on Visa, MasterCard and PayPal when those companies cut off service to the WikiLeaks organization.

Rumor of kill switch

Several months ago, a bill was introduced in the United States Congress about creating an “internet kill-switch” that would be accessible only to the president. Given the amount of online commerce that goes on in the United States, the utilization of such an option would cost billions in revenues, according to the Christian Science Monitor, even if internet access was shut down for only a day.




Christian Science Monitor

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