Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Hacker claims to have had access to UAE's internet filter systems

The hacker, from internet group Anonymous, was responsible for leaking a list of 24,000 websites that are blocked in the UAE at the beginning of July.

DUBAI // A man claiming responsibility for a hack on the country's internet filter has said that he temporarily had full administrator access.

The individual who is a member of the 'Anonymous' organisation, was responsible for leaking a list of 24,000 websites that are blocked in the UAE at the beginning of July.

At the time, officials from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said they had contacted both du and Etisalat and said there was no truth to claims of a security breach.

The individual, who goes by the internet name of 'Isac', said that the alleged hack had been carried out on June 26.

"I found the vulnerability a few months before," he said. "I had full admin access. I basically had control over the internet of every single user of du."

The claims could not be independently verified. In a statement, du said that it had no further comment beyond that which was already stated by the TRA.

The TRA said on July 8 that the maintenance of the proxy server, which filters internet use, was the responsibility of Etisalat and du.

"TRA approached both [internet service providers] to confirm the that there was no attempts of any kind of breaches to the proxy systems and they have both confirmed that the systems are not affected nor hacked or breached," the TRA said in a statement at the time.

Isac said that there was no grudge against the UAE that prompted the alleged attack. "I'm currently working on other countries that censor," he said. "It's more of a hack anything you can sort of approach.

"I don't have a personal vendetta against UAE or anything. I just have a problem with censorship."

The country's internet filter screens out adult material, as well as content which is derogatory to Islam. However, Isac said it was unfair for Etisalat and du to block means by which people could make cheap calls over the internet.

The alleged UAE hack was conducted under the name 'Operation Godfather'. On Sunday, Isac released a list of thousands of website addresses which are blocked in Yemen.

"Censors, expect us," he wrote in a statement accompanying the leaked list.

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Updated: July 23, 2012 04:00 AM

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