x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Telecoms regulator denies Anonymous hacked UAE netfilter system

Claims that a group of hackers have penetrated the country's proxy server and extracted a list of blocked website addresses are incorrect, the TRA says.

DUBAI // Claims that a group of hackers have penetrated the country's proxy server and extracted a list of blocked website addresses are incorrect, the telecoms regulator has said.

In a statement, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority denied security had been compromised.

The vigilante 'hactivist' organisation Anonymous, who have previously targeted credit card companies and antipiracy organisations, claimed it had hacked into the UAE's netfilter system which censors websites.

"Recently there have been many rumours about hacking and intrusion attempts to UAE's ISPs (proxies)," the TRA said.

"The TRA's main responsibility is to set the policies. On the other hand the ISPs are fully responsible for operation of the proxy.

"As all proxy under the full control and operation of the ISPs, TRA approached both ISPs to confirm the that there was no attempts of any kind of breeches to the proxy systems and they have both confirmed that the systems are not affected nor hacked or breeched."

Anonymous leaked a list of 24,000 blocked URLs last week under the code name Operation GodFather.

"We managed to get into the Netfilter server and are leaking this data we extracted from their [database]," the group said.

The TRA did not comment on whether the list was accurate.

One computer forensics expert based in Dubai, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals from Anonymous, said last week that many companies operate their own proxy servers and provide lists of inappropriate websites to du and Etisalat.

"Just because they have been able to identify which websites are blocked, this isn't any amazing achievement," the expert said.

mcroucher@thenational.ae