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BREAKING: Netflix Taken Down by Hackers Over LGBTQ+ Content

Netflix and Hulu are down in some locations after reportedly being hacked by people protesting LGBTQ+ content.

The group called Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for the breach on its Telegram channel, specifically citing Netflix's LGBTQ+ content as the reason. It claimed it brought Netflix down for 30 minutes in some locations and planned another hacking attempt at 1 a.m. Khartoum time (7 p.m. ET).

"Reason for the attack: Due to the content of their movies. 'LGBTQIA+,'" the group wrote.

Newsweek reached out to Anonymous Sudan comment. A spokesperson for Netflix acknowledged that there were some issues accessing its servers.

"Some of our members were unable to use Netflix on web and mobile on 28 Sep between 10:55 PM PT and 11:25 PM PT. Our engineers have since fixed the issue. We're so sorry for the inconvenience," the spokesperson told Newsweek.

According to CheckHost, Netflix suffered outages in some parts of the United States, Turkey, Russia, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan and other countries in Europe.

But the group's actions were not actually hacking but rather a "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attack, according to Mattias Wahlen of cybersecurity firm TrueSec. He explained that these groups have a network of computers that are used to contact the target website all at once which "overloads the site and legitimate users can't access it."

"We lazily call them 'hacktivists,' but a better term would be 'cyber vandals,'" Wahlen told Newsweek. "There's a criminal economy, where some criminals build these networks and then rent out the access to these 'activists'—who many times are not actually activists—then sometimes they are."

Anonymous Sudan has previously taken credit for hacking and causing widespread outages on X, formerly Twitter.

The group first appeared in January 2022 and was thought to be associated with the infamous "hacktivist" group Anonymous.

But research by TrueSec alleged it was actually run by a group of Russian hackers as part of an "information operation to harm and complicate Sweden's NATO application."

In his research for TrueSec, Wahlen argued that the Russian hackers appropriated the original Anonymous Sudan, which was formed in response to the African country's political and economic unrest. The original Anonymous Sudan participated in digital activism, such as hacking and causing outages on government websites.

TrueSec's research highlighted indications that the new Anonymous Sudan was likely not the same group operating in Africa, including different styles of communication. The new group mainly announces its operations on Telegram, a messaging platform popular with Russian hackers. Also, it posts in English and Russian, never in Arabic, and is amplified by Russian hacktivist groups.

The new Anonymous Sudan Telegram account's location is listed as Russia.

TrueSec hypothesized the motive for the group's attacks "could be to internally strengthen the narrative that Russia is not isolated and create the illusion that there are online activists all over the world supporting Russia."

Wahlen said the group was likely a proxy for a Russian government agency based on "circumstantial evidence" and justification of attacking Netflix over LGBTQ+ content was part of a "disinformation campaign" designed to paint the government as the good guys in culture wars against the West.

What they want is media attention, they don't care if Netflix is down for real or not, they can use the attention to amplify their message," Wahlen said. He added that the best thing a major company could do when they face a DDoS attack is to "be quicker to go out and explain" what happened.

"Companies never like admitting openly that they've suffered any type of cyber attack, but in this case, it is better to say 'it's just a denial of service attack, it won't last forever and we will be back soon.' That's better than saying nothing because it allows the criminals to control the narrative."


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