Turkey Bans Cloud Storage Sites Amidst Email Furore

Turkey Security - Shutterstock - © Kheng Guan Toh

Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and GitHub were all reportedly made inaccessible over the weekend

Turkey reportedly blocked several major cloud storage services over the weekend, including Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive and Google Drive, after a militant hacking group began releasing a cache of private emails it claimed were stolen from a senior cabinet minister.

The block also affected the GitHub source code repository, according to Turkey Blocks, which monitors Internet bans in the country.

Major ISPs affected

cloud data protection

Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive were all blocked on Saturday, but access to Google Drive was later restored after Google complied with a take-down notice removing the cache of emails.

GitHub was inaccessible as of Sunday morning, Turkey Blocks said.

The sites affected were not accessible via any of the country’s major ISPs, but some rural users making use of smaller access providers were reportedly unaffected.

Users have also reported they were able to continue accessing the sites via VPN services or devices using data roaming plans from outside Turkey.

Turkey issued an official notice of an “adminstration measure” with regard to Google Drive, but hasn’t made any official statement on the other bans.

Sensitive data

The emails, released beginning on Monday, 26 September by militant group RedHack, comprise a massive 20GB cache that includes 16 years’ worth of more than 57,000 private messages.

RedHack claimed to have stolen them from three email accounts belonging to Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Energy Minister and the son-in-law of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after infecting Albayrak’s iPad with malware.

The group had threatened to release the emails unless left-wing dissidents were released.

An Ankara court inadvertently confirmed the authenticity of the emails in an order regarding the RedHack investigation, which was widely shared by journalists.

The country has previously blocked sites including Twitter and YouTube in order to prevent the spread of sensitive documents or recordings.

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