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A View of the Iranian "Internet Blockade" from Akamai's Intelligent Platform

According to a published report from Reuters, Iranian residents once again faced a disruption of their Internet access on Monday.  Reuters noted:

The latest Internet blockade affected the most common form of secure connections, including all encrypted international websites outside of Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with "https."

The global deployment of the Akamai Intelligent Platform, and the more than one trillion requests for content serviced by the platform each day, afford Akamai a unique perspective on how Internet events and outages impact traffic levels.  As shown in the graph below, SSL-encrypted traffic delivered to users in Iran from Akamai's Secure Content Delivery network was indeed significantly restricted for approximately 20 hours on Sunday, February 19, and Monday, February 20.

The graph illustrates that during this time period, SSL traffic delivered to Iran by Akamai dropped to 5-10% of the peak levels seen during the previous two days, indicating that while there was not complete unavailability of secure traffic to Iranian users, secure access to popular content and Web sites was very limited.

SSL Traffic to Iran.pngInterestingly, traffic patterns for "regular" (HTTP) content delivery to Iran during the same time period do not show a corresponding drop in traffic.  However, for both the unavailability of SSL traffic seen this week, as well as a similar disruption reported by Reuters on February 14, post-disruption HTTP traffic levels do appear to spike 30-40% higher than those seen in the preceding few days, which may indicate that users are flooding back online once full access has been restored.

David Belson (@akamai_soti, @dbelson) is Akamai's Director of Market Intelligence, and the Editor of Akamai's State of the Internet report