Government of Sudan Restricts National Internet Access, Blocks Social Media Amidst Ongoing National Protests

Dating back to December 20th 2018, in the wake of massive demonstrations across the country, led by President Omar al-Bashir, the Government of Sudan has shut down most of the national internet and blocked access to social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. As for why the people of Sudan are protesting, in many ways it is not that much different than the situation in France and Jordan – protesters are upset about the growing wealth/income disparity in the country, as well as the rising costs of food, fuel and taxes.

As was reported by Amnesty International on December 21st,  “Sudan is currently experiencing a severe economic crisis which has led to a rise in the cost of fuel, electricity, transport, food and medicine provoking countrywide protests.” Explaining that “since 14 December, tens of thousands of people have been taking part in protests in different parts of the country including in Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Gebeit, Al-Qadarif, Atbara, Berber, Dongla, Karima, Al-Damazin, Al Obeid, Al Fasher, Khartoum and Omdurman.” Adding that as of this past Wednesday, at least 8 people have been killed dozens injured and hundreds more arrested. “The government has also shut down the internet since 20 December, in yet another attempt to stop the protests.

According to researchers on the ground however, there are multiple reports that +30 have been killed since the start of Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the situation is beginning to remind me a lot about the Oromo protests in Ethiopia in 2015/2016. Not only were hundreds killed in these protests, but the Ethiopian Government also restricted access to the National internet and social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a result, the Anonymous Hacker Collective jumped in, instruction Ethiopian citizens how to utilize VPN’s and the Tor networking service, as well as set activists up with encrypted chat servers and email accounts to safely coordinate national protests with one another throughout the future.

If anyone from Sudan manages to get this information, or you know people in Sudan whom need the information, they can learn how to circumvent national internet restrictions and Government blockades through the information and resources provided below. Additionally, activists working on behalf of CyberGuerrilla have already set up channels on the DarkNet and ClearNet for Sudanese activists to learn more about these practices, as well as how safely coordinate with one another or others looking to help them online while. You are invited to reach out to them here:

Anti-Censorship Care Package – What To Do When National Internet Becomes Restricted or Blocked (via CyberGuerrilla): https://www.cyberguerrilla.org/blog/anti-censorship-carepackage/

https://webchat.cyberguerrilla.org/ #OpSudan
https://3ur4xm2japn56c5f.onion/ #OpSudan

Ways To Connect To CyberGuerrilla IRC: https://cyberguerrilla.info/ways-to-connect-to-cyberguerrilla-irc/ (look for Channel #OpSudan)

https://twitter.com/CgAn_Doemela/status/1076580410166001664

Additional Security Resources & Tutorials for Sudan Activists:

VPN’s: https://newblood.anonops.com/vpn.html
The Onion Network: https://newblood.anonops.com/tor.html
Security Handbook: https://newblood.anonops.com/security.html
Email Encryption Basics: https://newblood.anonops.com/securemail.html
Connecting To The IRC: https://newblood.anonops.com/basics.html
HexChat IRC On Windows or Linux: https://newblood.anonops.com/hexchat.html
How To Write Un-Hackable Passwords: https://roguesecrutiylabs.ltd/how-to-write-un-hackable-passwords
Phone Security: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/phone-security
Email Security Strategies: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/email-security-strategies
Making The Switch To Encrypted Emails: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/making-the-switch-to-encrypted-emails/
Encrypted Chatrooms & VoIP Apps: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/encrypted-chatrooms-voip-apps
How To Make, Create & Maintain an Anonymous Identity Online: https://anonhq.com/anonymous-security-guide-2-0/
Securing Your Social Media Accounts: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/securing-social-media-accounts
Building & Selecting Safer Web Browsers: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/building-selecting-safer-web-browsers
The Value of Copy & Paste Services: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/copy-paste-services
Miscellaneous Tips, Tricks & Security ‘Hacks’: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/miscellaneous-tips-tricks-security-hacks
Operation Security: https://iamanonymous.com/dont-be-burnt-toast-unknown-guide-to-operation-security/

Download Tor for Windows, Apple, Android and/or Linux Devices Here: https://www.torproject.org/download/download.html

More Resources Available Here: https://roguemedia.co/2018/12/16/connecting-online-the-hacking-world-the-ultimate-anonymous-handbook/


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Ethiopia Begins Drafting New Hate Speech Laws To Crack Down on Fake News & Social Media

Joining a much larger pool of countries recently looking to enact new “Hate Crime” laws governing or regulating the flow of free speech across the internet, Ethiopian authorities have recently announced a new initiative to draft new laws imposing fines or jail sentences for activists and/or press organizations deemed to be inciting violence or spreading hatred online. The initiative was announced for the first time last month, November 23rd 2018, under the conditions that lawmakers submit the final bill for approval/vote within the next 100 days.

According to a November 2018 report by the Addis Standard, “Ethiopia is struggling from the surge of hate speech and fake news in its limited cyber space.” Therefore, as a result, “the Office of Attorney General is preparing a draft bill aiming to curb hate speech and bring accountability towards public speeches and every other discourse, which is deemed to ignite hate and ethnic tensions in the country.” Explaining how the Ethiopian Government heavily blames the rise of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as online “Fake News” platforms for the recent rises in ethnic tensions over the course of the last decade.

By cracking down on so called ‘abusive online dialect,‘ the country hopes to resolve future conflicts – or at least limit them. However, in response to the new initiative, Human Rights Watch cautions that “any law that limits freedom of expression by punishing hate speech must be narrowly drawn and enforced with restraint, so that it only targets speech that is likely to incite imminent violence or discrimination that cannot be prevented through other means.” Adding that “many governments have tried and failed to strike the right balance, and Ethiopia’s own track record offers reason for alarm. In the past, the Ethiopian government has used vague legal definitions including in its anti-terrorism law, to crack down on peaceful expressions of dissent.

Dating back to the Ormo protests of 2015, the Anonymous hacker collective has been particularly interested in the ongoing conflicts in Ethiopia, helping to teach Ethiopian activists how to remain safe, secure and Anonymous online. In addition to setting up encrypted chatrooms for activists to coordinate with one another, Anonymous has also helped Ethiopians set up encrypted email accounts and teach them how to use VPN’s and proxies to circumvent Government controls/restrictions. This effort has also been publicly aided by services such as ProtonMail and groups like Amnesty International. As Anonymous would also be the first to tell you, Anonymous is not a group, rather it’s simply an “idea” – and you can not arrest and idea.

In regards to the drafting of this new law, perhaps in a nod to Anonymous’ operations inside the country over the years, one Ethiopian official was quoted as saying that “Narratives seem to change on the social media. This, however, will be tested as the government can not jail ideas, but people.” I guess we will have to see how well this works out for them…..

Image result for you can't arrest an idea

Image result for you can't arrest an idea

For the time being, Ethiopian officials have opened up the door for constructive criticism and feedback from the general public before the finalized version of the bill is submitted.

36 Members of Ethiopian Intelligence Charged with Attempted Assassination

Earlier this week Ethiopia’s Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, announced the arrest/indictment of 36 members of the countries national intelligence unit and more than 30 members of Ethiopians military for a terror attack following the election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed earlier this summer. The arrests come in conclusion to a 5 month investigation, now resulting in senior level officials of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) being charged with attempted assassination.

As was reported by the Ethiopian Observer, the incident in question occurred on June 23rd 2018, when a previously unknown group of assailants threw grenades into a crowded rally being held in support of Prime Minister Abiy. Two people were killed in the attack. According to their report, “Oromo ethnic groups were deliberately recruited to carry out the attack, to give the impression that the Prime Minister was killed by his own ethnic group members,” Berhanu told a press conference. If you were unaware, the Oromo people have been at the forefront of Ethiopian political discussion and conflict dating back to 2015, when the Government run by then President Mulatu Teshome was known to have killed hundreds of Oromo protesters – essentially making them the perfect scapegoat for “political attacks” in 2018. Indubitably, this is why the Ethiopian Intelligence community tried to frame them.

However, as a separate report from Al-Arabia concludes, the attacks were specifically coordinated to sabotage Ahmed’s reformations of various state run agencies, as well the Grand Renaissance Dam Project, a highly controversial, but highly profitable, National project which has the potential to make Ethiopia the continents single largest energy exporter over the years to come. Though the dam promises to bring in untold amounts of new income into the country, the dam project has fallen significantly behind schedule and has come under fierce scrutiny from countries downstream – most namely Egypt. In fact, some have even speculated that the Grand Renaissance Dam project itself might one day spark War between Ethiopia and Egypt.

As it turns out, in the months following the foiled assassination attempt, Prime Minister Ahmed removed and replaced several construction teams developing the dam, and has procured new international partnerships with foreign investors totaling more than 2 billion dollars. The arrests announced this week come as part of a much broader national initiative to cut down on human right violators inside the country and clean up Ethiopia’s image with the international community. Prime Minister Abiy promises more crackdowns like this over the months and years to come.