On Saturday, Turkey blocked cloud storage services such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and also code hosting service GitHub, claims Turkey Blocks, a censorship monitoring group. The government has reportedly made this decision to confine the leaks of emails that belonged to the personal accounts of Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak (also President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law).
Authenticity of the leak confirmed
By blocking these services, authorities aim to deter users from hosting email dumps on their accounts and making it available more widely, says The Next Web. It is believed that the hacking group Redhack is responsible for the leak, which includes 57,623 emails (or 17GB) dating from April 2000 to the end of September.
“Microsoft @Onedrive now blocked in #Turkey, joining @GoogleDrive and @Dropbox in nationwide cloud storage shutdown,” tweeted Turkey Blocks on Sunday.
Turkey Blocks, however, notes that the Google Drive was unblocked a day later. Also access to Dropbox has been said to be restored. The leak shows how Erdogan misused his position and power to publish specific information in pro-government newspapers, according to The Daily Dot, which received the email dump. The leak appears to be authentic as an Ankara court has already ordered an investigation of the group.
Turkey known for blocking Internet services
According to The Register, major ISPs supported the blocks, while a few smaller companies allowed users to access the web drives. As of now, it is not known how effective the block proved, as many on social media claim that it was possible for them to access the blocked sites using a VPN, notes BBC. Though Turkey has not explicitly confirmed the blocks, journalists widely shared the court documents, which called for action against the Redhack members.
Turkey is notoriously known for blocking Internet services, with an aim of controlling what citizens can read about its government online. A few months ago, the country blocked WikiLeaks after a leak of emails from Turkey’s ruling political party. Then in March after a car bomb exploded in Ankara, it blocked Twitter and Facebook. Also in 2015, the country fined Twitter for failing to remove what it referred to as “terrorist propaganda.”
Also it is not the first time that some hacker group has leaked the personal emails of the Turkish government. A few months ago, the personal emails detail of about 50 million Turks, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were leaked online.