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Hacktivist group targets Syria in wake of internet blackout

30 November 2012

Global hacktivist collective Anonymous is targeting Syrian websites worldwide to protest an internet blackout in that country, which was instituted Thursday in what most think is an attempt by President Bashar al-Assad to cut off communication routes for the opposition.

The Syrian government, for its part, blames “terrorists" for the blackout. But CloudFlare, a firm that helps accelerate internet traffic, said on its blog that this scenario is highly suspect.

“Syria has four physical cables that connect it to the rest of the Internet,” it explained. “Three are undersea cables that land in the city of Tartous, Syria. The fourth is an over-land cable through Turkey. In order for a whole-country outage, all four of these cables would have had to been cut simultaneously. That is unlikely to have happened.”

Opposition forces have posted video and other updates to various websites to show the outside world the government’s response to the opposition to the al-Assad regime. More than 40,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, the opposition has said.

In the wake of the blackout, Anonymous has launched the #OpSyria initiative, aimed at shutting down all Syrian-controlled web assets.

“Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, wages a bloody and brutal war on his people who seek nothing more than self-expression in the face of oppression,” the group said in its latest manifesto. “The Syrian government actively controls the free flow of information for its own sinister motives through a complete international media blackout….the Syrian public faces the very real threat of strict monitoring of all online activity through a widespread government surveillance system. Every single Syrian’s web browsing is monitored, censored and recorded at all times using technology provided by Blue Coat Systems. Surveillance software has been installed at all Internet cafes to record every single site visited and word typed. In Syria, simply viewing a website can get you arrested. Such extreme restrictions and surveillance are violative [sic] of essential human rights.”

This article is featured in:
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery  •  Industry News  •  Internet and Network Security  •  Public Sector

 

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