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ISIS Bans the Internet in al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor

Written by: Zainah Alsamman ISIS has imposed a citywide internet blockade in the city of al-Boukamal in the Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor. The internet ban extends to all communal halls, offices, shops, banks, petrol stations and homes.[1] “We are not allowed to use the internet anymore, not even in our houses,” a local activist...
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Facebook Prison: Testimonies from Syria

Ahmad witnessed many horrors during his year in a Syrian regime prison.  Some of the worst were people being tortured for their Facebook and other online passwords. Many of his fellow prisoners had been arrested because of their mobile phones.  They were stopped at a checkpoint, their phones were seized and their Facebook accounts checked....
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ISIS Steps Up Information Control in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor

Image Source: Press Review Levant TV On 18 July 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) authorities issued strict limitations on the use of satellite internet in Raqqa, Syria. It signals yet another move in ISIS’ efforts to control its information space. Download Full Report > SalamaTech has tracked the digital war in Syria since 2012, including attempts by all parties to control and manipulate...
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Syria’s National Defence Forces Take the Battle to Cyberspace

A new player has emerged in Syria’s cyber war, the Electronic National Defence Forces (ENDF). The group claims to be the electronic wing of the regime’s recently created paramilitary group, the National Defence Forces. While the group has been active for only one month, it has already hacked at least 12 Syrian Facebook fan pages...
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Syria’s Hacker Wars

Internet hacking groups are a significant and growing feature of the war in Syria. A new development is the open association of some hacking groups with on-the-ground militant groups from both sides. The evolution of Syria’s hacking wars is something to watch –- inside Syria and globally.      

The Internet in Syria: Down, But Not Out

On 7 May 2013, Syria disconnected from the global internet for the third time since the beginning of the conflict. On 8 May, internet connectivity was restored. While analysts continue to speculate as to the cause of the disconnect, uncertainty remains.  

Syria’s Emerging War Economy

New reports of Syrian military officers selling shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to opposition groups suggest the regime may be losing some control over its soldiers and weaponry. The emergence of weapon sales between warring factions is a dangerous development in the conflict. It raises fears of the potential criminalization of armed groups, and concerns over the...
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Chinese MANPADS in Syrian Rebel Hands

Rare footage of rebels firing a portable surface-to-air missile suggests opposition forces may be receiving some of these weapons from abroad. The unedited video, released this week, shows opposition fighters using what appears to be a Chinese-made Man-Portable Air Defence System, or MANPADS, to down a Syrian regime helicopter near Aleppo. To date, only Russian-made...
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President Assad Speaks; Syria’s Internet Goes Dark

Syria’s President Assad used a very public television appearance on Sunday to signal his resolve to remain in power. But as Assad spoke, Syria’s internet was dark. The internet blackout started prior to Assad’s speech, which began at 10:00 GMT. Syria’s internet started to come back online about an hour after his speech concluded.  

Syria Reconnects

At approximately 14:30 GMT (9:30 EST), the SecDev Syria Operations Group (SOG) witnessed a substantial amount of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) route update announcements related to Syrian Internet Protocol (IP) blocks. The announcements were the precursor to most of the country going back online.  

Syria Goes Offline

On 29 Nov. 2012 at 10:30 GMT, the Syrian Internet went almost completely offline. SecDev analysts traced the onset of the outage to unusual Border Gateway Protocol route withdrawals that began on 22 November 2012. While internet shutdowns are not unusual in Syria, the action was unprecedented given its widespread effect throughout the country.  

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New Book Explores Digital Protest and Cyber War

How is technology driving political and social protest around the world? In what ways are cartels, gangs and insurgent groups colonizing cyberspace? With governments cracking down, what are the implications for our civil liberties online and off? Our new book Open Empowerment: From Digital Protest to Cyber War explores these questions and many more. “The...
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When the Government Asks: Facebook’s Disclosure

Are companies such as Facebook and Vodafone ushering in a new era of transparency on surveillance? Increased reporting by these organisations on information requests from governments around the world gives hope this is the case. By Alicia Wanless Download Full Report  Facebook recently released data on the number of government requests it recieves for user...
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Syria Cyber Watch 1

* Syria’s internet is fragmenting: In border areas, satellite connections and wireless links to neighbouring countries are startingto replace dependence on Syrian Telecom.* SecDev has recently launched “Black Watch” to document Syrian censorship and surveillance practices.* Syrian activists confirm the risks they face when going online.* Syria’s opposition embraces the Twitterverse.  

Syrian Cyber Watch 2

* Pro-regime botnet identified by SecDev is taken down by Twitter.* Rebel-produced YouTube video declaring plans to establish an Islamic state in Syria sparks a social media outcry.* Social media reports show the Free Syrian Army has captured portable surface-to-air missiles.* Syrian regime is blocking Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and may be trying to block Secure Shell (SSH)...
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Canada and Cyberspace: Key Issues and Challenges

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev Within a single generation, cyberspace materialized from the pages of science ction to encompass half of all humanity. By the end of this decade, the relentless pace of technological change — driven by advances in cheap, affordable and mobile devices and boundless human creativity — will make unconnectedness...
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Neither Here nor There: Turkmenistan’s Digital Doldrums

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev Turkmenistan is slowly emerging from decades of darkness. President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov has vowed to modernize the country by encouraging the uptake of new technology for economic development and more ef cient governance. Hundreds of thousands of Turkmen citizens are now online. However, the country faces serious challenges as...
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What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Russia’s Contested Elections

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev As the Russian government gears up for presidential elections in March, the BBC should brace for a barrage of cyberspace interventions, including legislative and regulatory clampdowns, DDoS attacks on the broadcaster’s website, and the intimidation of journalists and sources expressing opposition online. In the aftermath of the Arab...
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Not With a Bang: Iran’s Diminishing Internet

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev Increasingly fearful that the Arab Spring will soon sweep Persia, Iran’s leaders have acted quietly but aggressively to tighten access to the internet, including new restrictions on the media and internet cafés. Of cials are following through on plans to block access to virtual private networks (VPNs), a...
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Internet Zones, a Costly Solution

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev In the fight for free internet access, economic factors are starting to outweigh political restrictions. Two-tier systems impact negatively on BBC’s services, as users must pay a significant cost to access BBC content. By way of example: In Kazakhstan, telecommunications carriers are building data centers and entering into...
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International Moves Towards Internet Governance: Gated Communities?

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev Governments are beginning to harmonise their approaches to controlling national cyberspace. This has resulted in a proliferation of national, regional and international resolutions and conventions that place restrictions on internet content and increase state surveillance of users. The net result is an implicit move towards creating national cyberspaces. Authoritarian...
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Censorship and Social Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

This report was published in conjunction with SecDev This report examines how key countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) used censorship and surveillance to repress social activism before and during the recent political upheavals of the Arab Spring. Its purpose is to provide the BBC with perspective on how internet services were affected...
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