Egypt restores Internet access, Anonymous hackers get involved [Updated]
“Good news: Internet access being restored in Egypt,” Google wrote on its official Twitter profile earlier this morning.
After a long stretch of inactivity, RIPE NCC, which tracks Web traffic, recorded a sudden lurch in Egyptian Internet use starting just after 11 a.m. in Cairo.
A similar tracking organization, the Renesys Group, wrote in an official blog post that access was restored to websites such as the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Commercial International Bank of Egypt and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
The group also said that Facebook and Twitter were back up inside the country, adding that “no traffic blocks are in place … no funny business. For now.”
Many of the initial protests were organized online, through Facebook groups and other social networking sites. In an attempt to freeze the momentum, the government cracked down on Internet use inside the country.
Though the country’s president, Hosni Mubarak, has since said he would not seek reelection after decades in power, demonstrators continued to clash on Wednesday.
[Updated at 9:20 a.m. ...
"We're pleased that Internet service has been restored and the 5 million people who use Facebook in Egypt can continue using our service to connect, learn, and share," the company said in a statement.
Already, Twitter is awash in messages from Egypt, some asking for donations and medical supplies at hospitals.]
[Updated at 2:00 p.m....
The international group of activist hackers known as Anonymous spent Wednesday trying to bring down Egyptian government websites. The group, which recently attacked the websites of companies it considered opponents of Wikileaks, targeted the Egyptian Ministry of Information’s portal as well as the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s site.
“Welcome back to the Internet, #Egypt. Well, except http://www.moiegypt.gov.eg – you stay down,” Anonymous wrote in a Twitter message Wednesday morning.]
-- Tiffany Hsu [follow]
Photo: Several thousand supporters of President Hosni Mubarak clashed with anti-government protesters Wednesday as Egypt's upheaval took a dangerous new turn. Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis /Associated Press