Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

In Kazakhstan, the year had barely got going when yesterday disruptions of Internet access ended up in a nationwide Internet shutdown from today, January 5, 2022. The disruptions and subsequent shutdown happened amid mass protests against sudden energy price rises.

Cloudflare Radar shows that the full shutdown happened after 10:30 UTC (16:30 local time). But it was preceded by restrictions to mobile Internet access yesterday.

Our data confirm that Kazakhstan’s ASNs were affected after that time (around 18:30 local time). That’s particularly evident with the largest telecommunication company in the country, Kaz Telecom, as the next chart shows.

The first disruptions reported affected mobile services, and we can see that at around 14:30 UTC yesterday, January 4, 2022, there was significantly less mobile devices traffic than the day before around the same time. Kazakhstan is a country where mobile represents something like 75% of Internet traffic (shown on Radar), a usual trend in the region. So mobile disruption has a big impact on the country’s Internet, even before the shutdown that affected almost all connectivity.

When we focus on other ASNs besides Kaz Telecom such as the leading mobile Internet services Tele2 or Kcell we can see a big drop in traffic yesterday after 16:00 UTC, confirming local reports. Mobile traffic did not drop to zero which may indicate throttling rather than a full shutdown. Today, however, the Internet, mobile or not, is shut down.

Looking at BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) updates from Kazakhstan’s ASNs around the time of the shutdown, we see a clear spike at exactly the same time the bigger ASNs were affected ~10:45 UTC, January 5, 2022. These update messages are BGP signaling that Kazakhstan’s ASNs are no longer routable, something similar to what we saw happening in The Gambia yesterday but for very different reasons.

The Kazakhstan case is similar to other state-imposed shutdowns that also happen all too frequently, generally used to deal with situations of unrest, elections or even exams. There are similarities with the Sudan 25-day shutdown that we reported at the end of 2021, the Sudanese prime minister resigned this week in the aftermath of those shutdowns, but it’s very different from the Internet outage in The Gambia that we reported today.

You can keep an eye on Cloudflare Radar to monitor how we see Internet traffic globally and in every country.

Source:: CloudFlare