Since October 2022, Russia has been targeting critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine with its missiles and drones. Attacks have degraded electricity generation and distribution, cutting off power and thereby heating, water treatment and Internet connectivity for millions of people. Rolling electricity blackouts lasting anywhere from several hours to days are making this brutal conflict even harsher. Even if the war was to stop tomorrow, damage to electricity power plants and distribution networks will persist. One of the ways eQualitie is responding to this crises is by supplying small Internet service providers (ISP) with batteries to help them power their local (fibre optic) networks during electricity outages. We have already delivered a 7 tonne shipment in December.
The donated batteries have been in use since December 2022. Chernihiv, the regional center located in northern Ukraine, was almost surrendered by the Russian military since the first days of aggression. City infrastructure has been heavily destroyed due to constant bombardments. Even during the combat in Feb-March ISP Osnova had provided internet and cable TV services to more than 50 thousand households in Chernihiv. Dmytro Samsonenko, the director of ISP Osnova, shares his feedback on the usage of donated batteries during outages:
Our SBL batteries are connected to the EASUN ISOLAR-SMG-II-3.6KW-WIFI inverter, the system capacity is approximately 3 kWh (135 Ah at 24 V).
The system is installed at the district-level node, which provides television and internet connection for 185 residential buildings in Chernihiv. The capacity of the batteries is enough for 16 hours of continuous operation of the equipment in the event of an outage of the node.
WE NEED YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO SEND A SECOND DELIVERY !
Please make a donation today to support this procurement. Our goal is to collect $25 000, which will help to buy 150-170 individual batteries to serve the needs of around 30 ISPs. All contribution matters! More than 1500 ISPs work in Ukraine, this market is diverse and the smallest ISPs provide services to a few residential buildings. Thus, the need for batteries remains high.
100% of your donation will go towards the batteries’ purchase. We have an established logistics pipeline with DACPOL and customs importing and road freight assistance from DEPS. In Ukraine, the Ministry of Digital Transformation works with local ISPs on delivery, verification and reporting.
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We also accept donations in BTC: bc1qre02fd4w6nvl7eq44456z03h25fvnuzjms28p9
eQualitie Org is a Canadian registered non profit corporation (1191545-2) with business number 745963470RC0001
Since the beginning of the second invasion in February 2022, eQualitie has launched a series of rapid efforts focusing on digital security capacity building and urgent response to various communication and safety needs of Ukrainian citizens, media agencies, human rights organizations, and CSOs. A lot of the focus of our existing programming on web security and censorship circumvention was extended to the realities and needs of Ukrainian websites and people finding themselves in temporarily occupied territories (and part of the Russian Internet). Herein a brief summary of the work done in 2022 to help defend Ukrainians during this illegal invasion.
The Digital Security Helpline Nadiyno.org was conceived in late spring and launched in partnership with Internews Ukraine in November. It is the first national digital security helpline in Ukraine (and possibly the world) tasked with responding to any and all questions from the public relating to cyber security. The rational behind the helpline was to offer immediate and easy to understand solutions for the many problems and questions people have in relation to their device and communications safety. By and large most of them cannot afford the time and mental space to reading long manuals and attending webinars in order to understand the whole security landscape. They just need answers and in a war-time setting these answers often have a direct impact on their personal well-being and safety. We assembled and trained a dedicated team of helpline support staff and digital experts, stood up systems to document and respond to incoming requests and compiled a growing database of security FAQs on the Nadiyno website.
Nadiyno.org launch event, with Internews, eQualitie and Ministry of Digital Transformation. November 2022
We have also conducted eight digital security webinars reaching 1027 participants, including 202 civil servants from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (the central body of the Ukrainian Government). Civil servants participated in two tailored webinars by eQualitie on the basics of digital security and the identification of phishing attacks, one of the major cyber threats against individuals in Ukraine.
In the first weeks of the conflict, eQualitie launched a decentralized communications network in Ukraine https://dcomm.net.ua to support local area emergency communications in the case of Internet shutdowns caused by military activity. A federated network of 10 servers was set up in 9 Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Rivne, Lviv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Poltava, and Khmelnytskyi enabling secure chat for Ukrainian users using the Matrix/Element platform and micro-blogging on the Mastodon social network. eQualitie published several easy-to-follow guides on using these new services in Ukrainian and introduced content moderation and network administration capacity to ensure smooth operations in a very difficult climate.
As of December 2022, more than 1100 users are running their own instances of Mastodon on this platform to communicate with each other and millions of other users from hundreds of federated instances worldwide. The Kyiv instance https://social.kyiv.dcomm.net.ua/ is already the second biggest Mastodon platform in Ukraine. Hundreds of rooms and thousands of users are communicating on the Matrix network everyday.
eQualitie protects over a hundred Ukrainian media and CSO websites from DDoS attacks on the Deflect network. Since the beginning of the conflict, an additional 60 Ukrainian websites have been onboarded, bringing a daily audience of over half a million people Ukraine. Deflect protects the websites of key Ukrainian human rights organizations, including the 2022 Nobel prize laureate – the Center for Civil Liberties.
The eQualitie team mitigates DDoS attacks against Ukrainian websites on a daily basis. Ukrainian newsrooms which provide quality reports on the Russia-initiated war against Ukraine become frequent targets of DDoS. One of the regional newsrooms from Zhytomyr, onboarded to Deflect in Aug 2022, has witnessed over twenty significant attacks since then. In just three days between October 27-30, attackers generated 33,3 million malicious hits against the website, albeit to no effect.
The Censorship.no project from eQualitie helps users in temporarily occupied territories to circumvent Internet censorship – part and parcel of Russia’s occupation is that local networks have been re-routed to join the Runet – where website blocking and traffic surveillance is rife. Using the CENO browser, which works using BitTorrent protocols, users can circumvent local network filtering and share contents of retrieved web pages with each other. More than 20 thousand Ukrainian users installed CENO on their Android devices via Google Play market.
SBL 135-12HR batterry – part of our ISP Small Grants Program
In December, eQualitie, in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, DEP, and the Association of “Right Owners and Providers of Content”, supplied 29 Ukrainian ISPs with 172 SBL 135-12HR batteries to power the providers’ fibre optic network during power outages. This batch with a total capacity of 20,640 Amps or 247 kWh as a cargo weighing 6,600 kg was delivered to Ukraine and distributed among local ISPs based on the need assessment, conducted by the Ministry and eQualitie. More information in our previous post.
These actions are but a small drop in the ocean of foreign support offered and still needed to sustain the Ukrainian people through the arduous and violent conflict inflicted upon them. A lot more work remains to be done in 2023 and we aim to continue the pace and breadth our interventions. This project is realized with support from Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian tax payers.
You can download a presentation of our Ukrainian focused projects here or check out the video presentation given at the International Cyber-security Forum (FIC) 2022 in Montreal.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.