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[liberationtech] The Emergence of Open and Organized Pro-Government Cyber Attacks in the Middle East: The Case of the Syrian Electronic Army

Masashi Nishihata masashi at
Mon May 30 14:30:59 PDT 2011

Citizen Lab Senior Researcher Helmi Noman and the Information Warfare  
Monitor have released a detailed report on the activities of the  
Syrian Electronic Army.

Since the beginning of the popular uprisings and protests in the  
Middle East and North Africa, events in the region have been  
characterized by increased contestation in cyberspace among regime  
sympathizers, governments, and opposition movements. One component of  
this contestation is the tendency among governments and networks of  
citizens supportive of the state to use offensive computer network  
attacks. Such tactics are supplements to legal, regulatory, and other  
controls, and technical forms of Internet censorship.

For example, a group known as the Iranian Cyber Army has defaced  
Twitter and Iranian opposition websites. Also, Tunisian political  
activists and Yemeni oppositional websites have both accused their  
government security organizations of launching attacks on their sites  
in an attempt to silence their message and deny access to their content.

In this report, we document the activities of the Syrian Electronic  
Army, which appears to be a case of an open and organized pro- 
government computer attack group that is actively targeting political  
opposition and Western websites. Our aim is to assess to what extent  
we can find evidence of Syrian government assistance for the attack  
groups, and what the significance of the attacks themselves are for  
civil society and cyberspace contestation.

See the full post here:

Masashi Nishihata
Research Manager, Citizen Lab

Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
e: masashi at

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