The Syrian conflict moves onto the web. “Protecting your account means protecting your friends” and “protecting your passwords means protecting the revolution”. Urged on by a student organisation, young Syrians, based in the country and abroad made these signs to warn opposition fighters about piracy attempts.
Since the start of the revolt, the Syrian regime has tried to infiltrate activist networks online. Security forces are thought to be using torture to obtain the passwords of militants arrested to access their social network accounts. And in recent months, copies of sites such as Facebook and Youtube have even been created to trick cyber activists and gather personal data.
But in this cyber war, opponents are supported by hacker groups. The group, Anonymous regularly attack the regime’s official sites, while the Telecomix collective provide advice to opposition fighters to help them ensure that online communication remains secure.
The aim is to protect them from attacks led by the electronic Syrian army, a group of IT pirates, working for the Damascus regime. And their work not only targets opposition fighters, they are also propaganda agents who flood social networks with messages praising Bachar al-Assad.
The hackers also target international media. Last week, a Twitter account of the Reuters press agency was pirated to spread false information about rebels in the Syrian free army.