Sudanese Government Hacker Group Facilitates Airstrikes On Militants, Sows Discord Among Activists

October 30, 2017

According to a report in The New Arab on October 16, 2017, a hacker group called Electronic Jihad (sometimes translated as "Cyber Jihad") leads the Sudanese government's efforts at cyber-warfare in Darfur, the Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains. The group falls under the jurisdiction of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the Sudanese government's secret police, and has helped bring the Sudanese government into the information age. It has been reported that the group has received assistance not only from China and Iran, but also from Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, and South Korea.

Rebel sources report that, since the early 2000s, local communication service providers such as MTN Sudan, Sudani One, and Zain Sudan have allowed the Sudanese government to bug telephone lines in more restive areas of the country, including the largest city in Darfur, Niyala. The Sudanese air force is then given this information in order to carry out airstrikes on civilian and rebel targets. Electronic Jihad was said to have killed Khalil Ibrahim, the founder of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement, after tracking his mobile phone.

The New Arab report explained that Electronic Jihad has also penetrated end-to-end encrypted messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram, having infiltrated WhatsApp groups to discover activists' identities using information from a 2016 operation to arrest a journalist for administrating one such group. The group often conducts distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to take down critical websites, such as SudaneseOnline, which was a website popular with the Sudanese and South Sudanese diaspora that often criticized the government. On one occasion, Electronic Jihad stole Sudanese journalist Somia Hundosa's email address and attempted to discredit her by sending pornography to male colleagues from her account. Rebel sources have said that Electronic Jihad had succeeded in sowing discord between militants and activists during a campaign of civil disobedience that extended from the Nuba Mountains to social media.

Source: Alaraby.co.uk, October 16, 2017.

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