PRI’s The World spoke with Professor Ron Deibert about the emergence of the Syrian Electronic Army.
In Syria, one of the largest anti-government protests so far turned deadly today. In the city of Hama activists say security forces fired on demonstrators killing at least 34 people. Syria’s government also cut Internet service across most of the country, effectively blocking a key portal of protest. But it’s not just regime opponents who are mobilizing online, so are government supporters involved with something called the Syrian Electronic Army. It aims to thwart not just the protestors, but also their sympathizers in the West.
Click here for the audio.
Posts tagged “Syria”
Today, it was reported by Renesys that beginning at 3:35 UTC and in the course of an hour and a half, two-thirds of Syrian networks had become disconnected from the global Internet.
This latest Internet black out is an example of just-in-time blocking—a phenomenon in which access to content and information communication technologies are blocked in response to sensitive political situations when the technology and content may have the greatest potential impact. It is suspected that the severing of Syria’s Internet is in direct response to the intensification of revolts this week, sparked in part by the death and torture of 13 year old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, as well as in memory of at least 50 other children killed during the protests. This action follows other MENA states severing access in reaction to protest on ground with Egypt shutting down national connectivity on January 28, 2011 and access blockages in Libya and Bahrain in February. For further analysis, see today’s OpenNet Initiative blogpost.
On CBC Dispatches, Rick MacInnes-Rae interviews Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab in the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, about the way governments in the Middle East are using the internet to fight back against their opponents – and Canada’s role too.
Click here for interview.
Starting at 3:35 UTC today (6:35am local time), approximately two-thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the global Internet. Over the course of roughly half an hour, the routes to 40 of 59 networks were withdrawn from the global routing table.
For the full original article, see here
For weeks, Syrian democracy activists have used Facebook and Twitter to promote a wave of bold demonstrations. Now, the Syrian government and its supporters are striking back — not just with bullets, but with their own social-media offensive.
Mysterious intruders have scrawled pro-government messages on dissidents’ Facebook pages. Facebook pages have popped up offering cyber tools to attack the opposition. The Twitter #Syria hashtag — which had carried accounts of the protests — has been deluged with automated messages bearing scenes of nature and old sports scores.
For full original article, see here
“Amid popular uprisings in Syria, Facebook users in the country logging into the secure HTTPS version of the social networking site are finding themselves to be the targets of an ongoing man-in-the-middle attack detected on various Internet service providers. Although it is unclear who is behind the attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation links the attack to allegations that the Syrian Telecom Ministry, under the auspices of the Syrian government, is the perpetrator. It is suspected that the Ministry has replaced Facebook’s security certificate with a fake unsigned one. In this attack, users’ browsers propagate a SSL error on the Facebook Web site because the certificate is not trusted by the browser. Users may ignore the warning by clicking through it, and in doing so, allowing the attacker to access their Facebook account and control and collect information. Some suspect that this is a ruse by Syrian authorities to spy on activists using the site to coordinate protests.”
“Yesterday we learned of reports that the Syrian Telecom Ministry had launched a man-in-the-middle attack against the HTTPS version of the Facebook site. The attack is ongoing and has been seen by users of multiple Syrian ISPs. We cannot confirm the identity of the perpetrators.
The attack is not extremely sophisticated: the certificate is invalid in user’s browsers, and raises a security warning. Unfortunately, because users see these warnings for many operational reasons that are not actual man-in-the-middle attacks, they have often learned to click through them reflexively. In this instance, doing so would allow the attackers access to and control of their Facebook account. The security warning is users’ only line of defense.”
“He has got two Sim cards, two pseudonyms, a dangerous addiction to nicotine and when his laptop is open, which it always is, his fingers dance across the touch pad in a mad ballet of digital information sharing.
‘That was AP calling,’ says the self-declared Syrian cyber activist, referring to the international news agency whose competitor Reuters was recently expelled from Damascus for reporting on the Syrian uprising. ‘They wanted us to confirm with video. Confirm with video? Not yet! I mean, come on!’ ”
From Al Jazeera
“Recent political unrest in the Middle East showed numerous dissatisfactions with the style of governance which seek to dictate and control its people. The detention of a young Syrian blogger has aroused the Arab blogosphere to protest against such suppression.
The arrest and detention of Google employee, Wael Ghanim, earlier this year encouraged the demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria that led to the Tahrir Square revolution which ousted President Mubarak on 11 February 2011. He was arrested for his initiative on his Facebook page for organising protests. A different but similar case is developing in Syria involving a teenaged blogger, Tal Al Malouhi.”
From Eurasia Review
“Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrests of more bloggers in recent weeks in Syria, where the regime treats netizens and bloggers as enemies and fears their ability to use the Internet to exchange information and, potentially, organize protests.
One of the latest to be arrested is Ahmad Hadifa, who is known by the blog name of Ahmad Abu Al-Kheir. Military security officials detained him in the northwestern city of Baniyas on the morning of 20 February. The next day, they confiscated his computer from his home. He was reportedly due to be interrogated by military intelligence in Damascus today.”