Before proceeding towards the story, let’s first go back two years to figure out what was wrong when Syria was completely blackout - sudden disconnect from the Internet - which lasted for the period of three days in 2012. Is that the Syrian government behind the blackout ?
The outage took place during a period of intense fighting in the country’s still-ongoing civil war. So, it was supposed that may it be the government’s fault. But, the Syrian Minister of Information said that the government didn’t disable the Internet, instead the outage was caused by a cable being cut by some terrorists. When investigated, it was unlikely to be the case.
So, Who was actually behind Syria Blackout ? NSA? Yup! It was the same NSA who was behind a number of major happenings.
National Security Agency (NSA) – the God-like powered agency that had ruled over the privacy of the entire world from countries to individuals, the one with master access to read anyone’s data, intruded into large fiber networks, and can target anyone, at any time and at any place.
SECRET BEHIND SYRIA’S 2012 INTERNET BLACKOUT
The new revelation from the global surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden remove the mask from one more Agency’s secret – a 2012 incident that took Syria’s Internet offline was caused by a blunder made by none other than the National Security Agency.
In an interview with Wired magazine’s well-known NSA journalist James Bamford published today, Snowden said that the elite hacking unit in the NSA, very well known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), accidentally took most of Syria off the Internet while attempting to infiltrate the country's traffic.
WHAT IF NSA SUCCESSFUL
The TAO unit had allegedly been attempting to install malware by exploiting a vulnerability in the router of Syria’s main Internet service provider that would have allowed the agency to redirect traffic from the central router through systems tapped by NSA’s Turmoil packet capture system and the Xkeyscore packet processing system.
This would have given the agency access to enclosures in e-mails that would otherwise not have been possible by its wider Internet surveillance program.
THAT Oops ! MOMENT
Instead, the TAO’s hackers successfully executed it, the plan backfired as the unit accidentally rendered the router - a very equipment it was trying to tap, causing Syria's internet connection to go dark. Snowden described the incident as an “oh shit” moment at the Tailored Access Operations center, where NSA feared of the moment if the Syrian government would discover what they had done.
The incident was really ironic - where other parts of the U.S. government were trying to keep Syria connected, the TAO unit was trying to repair the router and cover its tracks, to no avail.
“Fortunately for the NSA, the Syrians were apparently more focused on restoring the nation’s Internet than on tracking down the cause of the outage,” Bamford wrote. Snowden told him that someone joked, “If we get caught, we can always point the finger at Israel.”
It had been largely assumed that the outage had been caused by one of the opposing parties within Syria, be it the government itself or rebels. It was thought because since then, a number of times Syria's internet has gone dark, so it isn't wrong to continue assuming the same when outages occur. While the Syrian government blamed dissenting "terrorists" for the outage caused.
This recent Snowden's disclosure describes an embarrassing part of US intelligence agency though, but at the same time, the disclosure also made the list of culprits that people will consider when similar incidents occur in the future.