Global ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous has declared open rebellion towards the Syrian government following the nation-wide internet black-out. Only few days ago they did a similar digital attack on Israeli websites and databases.
The group, made of several hacking groups across the globe fighting against internet censorship, said it will strip from the Internet all governmental web assets which are outside the country including embassies. The black-out is believed to be the Government’s ploy to silence the opposition which has been incriminating it through social media.
Syria was blanketed by an internet black-out by around mid-day on November 29th, with even the mobile phone networks and landlines severely getting disrupted. The government claimed that this was the work of terrorists, but the opposition and human rights groups thought otherwise. They claimed that this is the work of the government itself to suppress the online movement against President Bashar al-Assad.
Social networking experts also state that the blackout is least likely to have been caused by forces working against Assad. In order to disrupt communication in such a large scale, the perpetrators would have to cut three undersea cables and an overland cable. The feasibility of this being done by external agents is very slim.
The opposition had extensively made use of social media during the uprising and afterwards to spread information as well as contact media abroad. They constantly published videos of air strikes and graphic pictures of casualties among civilians. The internet was a powerful medium for their operation in the blatant absence of a free press.
Anonymous had threatened to take down the website of the Embassy in China first. However, by 1000 GMT on November 30, the embassy’s website in China was intact while the site of the embassy in Belgium had crashed. Most of the ministry websites were also down, though it could have been due to the internet black-out.
The hacker organization had previously attacked U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Serious Organised Crime agency of Britain too.
An Anonymous press release posted online Thursday read:
“Today, at precisely 10:30 AM ET all Internet traffic into and out of Syria ceased. Within a half hour of this sudden shut down, the PBX land-lines were degraded by 90% and Mobile connectivity was degraded by 75%. The nation of Syria has gone dark. And Anonymous knows all to well what happens in the dark places.
Essentially, they have physically "pulled the plug out of the wall". As we discovered in Egypt, where the dictator Mubarak did something similar - this is not damage that can be easily or quickly repaired.”