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Anonymous Sudan hackers target Elon Musk’s SpaceX website in bid to gain attention for Starlink services in Sudan

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An online collective of hackers identifying themselves as “Anonymous Sudan” has successfully executed a temporary shutdown of the SpaceX website (previously known as Twitter) in multiple countries. The group’s aim is to apply pressure on Elon Musk to introduce the “Starlink” satellite-based internet services in Sudan.

For a period exceeding two hours, the SpaceX website was rendered inaccessible, impacting numerous users who fell victim to this cyber attack.

The hacktivists communicated their message directly to Elon Musk through the messaging application Telegram, urging him to, “Make our message reach Elon Musk: Launch the Starlink service in Sudan.”

This marks not the first instance where “Anonymous Sudan” has made its presence felt. The group has orchestrated cyber attacks in support of both Sudan and Islam. They have also been actively involved in online campaigns designed to raise awareness about the ongoing civil war in Sudan, a conflict responsible for severely disrupting internet connectivity in the region.

The recent SpaceX attack represents the latest activity attributed to “Anonymous Sudan.” In an exclusive interview with the BBC, one member of the group, operating under the alias “Crash,” detailed the techniques utilized in their attacks. According to Crash, their most recent assault on the SpaceX website involved inundating the servers with an overwhelming barrage of suspicious traffic requests, effectively incapacitating them. This tactic aligns with the relatively straightforward Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that “Anonymous Sudan” is recognized for.

“DownDetector,” a website specializing in monitoring online service outages, reported approximately 20,000 users from the United States and the United Kingdom experiencing service disruptions in SpaceX. The actual number of affected users could potentially be much higher.

Another member within the hacking group, known as “Hova,” explained that the intent behind the DDoS attack was to draw attention to the dire state of internet access caused by the ongoing civil conflict in Sudan, which has resulted in frequent and prolonged service outages.

SpaceX has yet to officially acknowledge the disruption to its services, and Elon Musk, the company’s proprietor, has not responded to the group’s entreaties for the launch of Starlink services in Sudan.

Cybersecurity experts have floated the possibility that “Anonymous Sudan” might be a guise for a Russian cyber military unit masquerading as a foreign hacker group. The group’s ideological alignment with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies and goals, coupled with their motivations, has led some to speculate that they may be facilitating Russia’s cyber campaigns.

To challenge these theories, the group has furnished the BBC with evidence verifying their physical presence in Sudan. They notably provided direct links to their official spokesperson and prominent member, “Crash,” through Telegram.

Both “Crash” and “Hova” have presented images of their Sudanese passports, along with other visual proof substantiating their presence in Sudan. The group broadcasts its messages via its channel, reaching an audience of around 120,000 individuals in English, Russian, and Arabic.

While “Anonymous Sudan” professes their actions to be in defense of truth, Islam, and Sudan, the group has also engaged in at least two extortion attempts involving Bitcoin.

Although their focus has encompassed governmental institutions and websites, hospitals have not been immune to their actions. Despite these attacks, the healthcare sector has not reported any significant damage. The group continues to operate actively, propagating messages and initiatives while evading apprehension.

The long-term aspiration, as expressed by “Crash,” is to demonstrate that despite Sudan’s resource limitations, its people possess considerable expertise across various domains. Deciphering the motives and repercussions of cyber activities orchestrated by groups like “Anonymous Sudan” remains a challenge for the global community.

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