[tor-bugs] #18285 [Blog]: The Arab Gulf Governments Surveillance Project

Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki blackhole at torproject.org
Mon Feb 8 22:52:15 UTC 2016

#18285: The Arab Gulf Governments Surveillance Project
     Reporter:  cypherpunks  |      Owner:
         Type:  project      |     Status:  new
     Priority:  Very High    |  Milestone:
    Component:  Blog         |    Version:
     Severity:  Major        |   Keywords:
Actual Points:               |  Parent ID:
       Points:               |    Sponsor:
 The ISP called Etisalat which is located in UAE (United Arab Emirates) ,
 they are using new strategy of forcing their surveillance on ppl, and they
 have used trick to lie on ppl, which is:-

 they are calling & sending messages to UAE ppl , and telling them you can
 upgrade your internet speed from X megabits to 20 megabits with free
 router and wireless-telephone and Tv-satellite or receiver.

 now is this problem? no , but here is the deception inside this:-

 they will force you to use their router because there will be no internet
 connection from your own router. and their router is D-Link DIR 850L6
 (some got another models but as i know all of them are from D-Link
 company) with Etisalat firmware (not the original D-Link firmware).

 their firmware has a backdoor inside it , which give the ability to any
 Etisalat employee accessing the router and do/change whatever they like
 inside it. not to mention the firmware is closed source for sure, and
 MAYBE contain malicious programs inside it like e.g spyware or ..etc.or
 executable programs which can attack targeted OS for e.g

 but what is for sure now the firmware has a backdoor inside it.

 and also you CANT go back to the original speed that you were using + your
 own router. and also adding fees about 200$ if will cancel the
 internet.and if you will use another firmware like the original firmware
 of from D-Link company or an open source firmware you will loose the
 internet connection, and you cant download Etisalat firmware and install
 it again (because the firmware is not available for users) so they will
 give you a new router & charge you the corrupted router price. (about 50$
 to 100$)

 and if you ask them why are you doing this? their answer is:-

 "we want to serve our customers as we can give them full support when
 having a problem regarding connectivity with routers."

 (as you see very cheap excuse (the perfect bad word for it = bullshit) in
 order to kill your freedom of choice on routers with high security levels
 and surfing the internet freely as you like.and)

 so the good question would be:-

 - can that effect Tor security/connectivity?

 - how can someone help Tor community to understand the risk on Tor users
 from this privacy attack? (i know ooni project , but it seems complicated
 and not really much active)


 1- i have sent this message to tor project emails the English and the
 Arabic one = sadly no response till now from over a month or so.

 2- this surveillance project not just in UAE , even in Saudia Arabia and
 so one..

 3- i didnt know which categories (Type,Priority,Severity...etc) i should
 choose for this topic , so i just put anything randomly

 lastly i say , hope Tor community/developers/news warn the poor ppl inside
 these countries by spreading this article (or any similar to it if
 available) so that (i hope) those ppl will be aware from these attempts
 and look for themselves to have a good solution for this problem.


Ticket URL: <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/18285>
Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki <https://trac.torproject.org/>
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