Cyber Conflict in Syria

By Paul Rosenzweig
Friday, November 30, 2012, 4:01 PM

Readers of Lawfare must sometimes wonder what all the cyber fuss is about.  How, after all, does cyber conflict occur.  Current events in Syria give a good sense of how conflict is happening.  Here is an excerpt from a recent report by the SecDev Foundation from their daily Syria Cyber Watch report:

Pro-regime botnet is identi!ed by SecDev and taken down by Twitter. SecDev analysts exposed a pro-regime
botnet fooding the Twittersphere with disinformation. Researchers estimate the botnet produced millions of pro-regime
tweets between July 19, when it was activated, and November 20, when Twitter shut the network down after being
alerted of its operations.

A rebel-produced YouTube video declaring plans to establish an Islamic state in Syria sparked an outcry on
social media this week. While most comments were critical of the group’s plan, a small minority voiced support.

Social media reports show the Free Syrian Army has captured portable surface-to-air missiles in recent assaults
on military installations.

Evidence suggests the Syrian regime is blocking Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), one of the main methods for
bypassing online censorship, and may be trying to block another circumvention option, Secure Shell (SSH)
connections. However, Open Secure Shell (OSSH) connections remain reliable, according to Psiphon 3, a main
provider of circumvention tools in the region.

This is, in a word, typical.  The SecDev Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cyber empowerment; and a better understanding of security and resiliency.  I've found their work quite reliable.