Egypt Blocks Facebook’s Internet Service After Being Denied The Ability To Spy On Users

Facebook have been keen on allowing countries access to Free Basics, their low-cost internet system designed at giving people the ability to create a Facebook account and access a limited number of sites at no cost. Free internet sounds great doesn’t it? Some countries don’t believe so, with India already banning the platform and the system being suspended within Egypt, over what now seems to be because the government was denied the ability denied the ability to spy on users.

The Free Basics platform in Egypt was suspended officially on December 30th, 2015, with sources now stating the reason for the suspension was that Facebook wouldn’t allow the government to circumvent the systems security, thereby allowing surveillance to be conducted on users of the platform. Etisalat, the mobile carrier that provided the service when it started in October 2015, hasn’t responded to comment while Facebook has declined to comment while the Egyptian government has declined to say what kind of surveillance or changes they wanted to be made to the service.

Officially the line given is that the service was considered “harmful to companies and their competitors”, a tale that while believable may be as well be an April fools joke to cover what can only be considered a request to invade and monitor everyone’s internet access. With limited access already and concerns about net neutrality for the scheme, if it was found to provide monitoring and tracking the “free” basics program would almost certainly see counties drop the system.

Assassin’s Creed Franchise Taking a Breather

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen its share of bad publicity with the last couple of games released. Assassin’s Creed Unity was a fiasco of magnitudes and while Syndicate did better, it failed to reach the same sales records as previous games. Both Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed have gotten a bad name and it looks like they’re pulling the breaks in order to take a breather and get the series back on track.

According to multiple anonymous sources which have provided credible leaks in this franchise before, we won’t see any new game in this series in 2016 at all. The next Assassin’s Creed game will instead come in 2017, giving the developing studio a little more time to come up with a fix for a broken game.

Now when I say broken game, I don’t refer to the trouble with Unity, but rather the whole concept. Assassin’s Creed is caught between the casual and hardcore gamers and with a product that doesn’t satisfy either one in the end. The original stealth approach has been replaced with a more straight on slaughter mode and the introduction of more and more firearms also disgruntled a lot of users. Not to mention the ship battles in Blag Flag, that while cool seemed totally out of place in the game.

One of the anonymous sources also leaked some information on the new games location and setup, but that wasn’t confirmed by any of the other sources. But according to this source, the new Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2017 will be set in Ancient Egypt with the protagonist being a (former) slave. The project is codenamed Empire, but that will most likely not be the official name. The new game is said to

The new game is said to get a Witcher 3 feel with player progression and a freeform combat system. The environment is described as extremely colourful and with very little parkour. Both of these things might be something that will leave the hardcore fans disappointed. There will be horses and ships to travel, but no naval combat, oh and you’ll get a pet eagle like the one known from the Far Cry franchise.

While I think that it is great that Ubisoft is taking a breather to rebuild a damaged and what used to be one of my favourite game series, I’m not convinced that what has been leaked so far will change much. It’s just not the same game anymore.

As bonus information, I can add that it looks like Ubisoft will use the opening created by this to release Watch Dogs 2 instead, but that’s just another rumour so far.

Egyptian Government Websites Being Defaced By Pro-Morsi Hackers

There was much jubilation and celebration on the streets of Cairo as Egypt’s military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in what has been described as a military coup. Since then the military has been killing Pro-Morsi protesters/rebels and there has been conflict throughout the country between Pro and Anti Morsi supporters.

During the interim period nothing much has really happened in terms of politics and authorities in Egypt are struggling to fill the political vacuum in a legitimate democratic way before the military takes over. Remember Egypt only just broke free of its “military” ruler during the Arab Spring last year and a year later Egypt has overthrown its democratically elected leader and is at risk of being a military state once again if democracy does not act fast.

The events in Egypt have not gone unnoticed by the outside world and Anonymous Jordan have been attacking anti-Morsi government websites. Hackread reports that they have targeted the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, the National Council of Care for the Revolution Martyrs’ Families and Wounded, the General Authority for Red Sea Ports, and the Supreme Council of Culture.

On the defaced sites the Anonymous Jordan hackers posted a message defending Morsi, stating the removal of him was wrong and that he did everything in his power to change the situation in Egypt.

Image courtesy of Anonymous Jordan

3 Scuba Divers Arrested For Cutting The Underwater Internet Cables In Alexandria, Egypt

Recently 3 scuba divers who were found trying to disconnect the SEA-ME-WE- 4 set of underwater internet cable that belongs to a telecom service provider in Egypt that feeds the connection to the region, were arrested by the Egypt Coast Guard.

According to Military spokesperson Ahmed Mohammed Ali, the 3 scuba drivers were trying to sabotage the underwater internet cable located roughly 820 yards from Alexandria, they had been somewhat successful to do damage as the internet speed reported by the region’s end users decreased tremendously. The underwater line use submarine cables which are nothing more than 3 inches thick, containing optic fiber cables which can transfer data up to 10Tb/s, so long as you don’t cut them to pieces.

While it isn’t clear yet if it was sabotage related, there was also another case where cable operator “Seacom” reported that many lines between Africa, few countries in Asia, Europe and Middle East were affected, therefore creating problems as it affected more than 75% traffic between the Middle East, Europe and Unites States. Seacom did say that they were able to restore the services, but after few hours they have reported that another connected had been cut off. Investigation is currently going on as the motive of the men is not clear, so is the extent of the damage being done so far.

It is also reported that the internet connection cable damage disrupted the internet links to India as reported by Indian based ISP VSNL . The Internet Service provider’s association of India also said that India lost up to 50-to-60% bandwidth. The ministry said that it will take several days to return to full capacity.

Source: Techspot