Home Tunisian Government Hackers Probably Behind Phishing: This Week in Online Tyranny

Tunisian Government Hackers Probably Behind Phishing: This Week in Online Tyranny

Tunisian Gmail users targeted. Slim Ammanou reports that Tunisia has been hit by a phishing scam with an intelligence element.

“The hacking method was basically to block access to the secure Gmail so that Tunisians are required to sign in via a non-secure Gmail, then divert them to a machine running a fake Gmail login page under EasyPHP, to steal their passwords and later, when needed, hack their email accounts.”

Given the scope and the focus, it seems unlikely, though possible, that this phishing was for money. More likely, given the rash of online censorship actions in the country, and the increasing role of quasi-government hackers (virtual death squads), is Tunisia’s intelligence services wish to gain control of all information transiting the country.

China sentences a commenter to a year in prison. Tang Lin, whose child died in the infant formula scandals in China, “Tang wrote on the ‘Sanlu Milk Powder Incident’ QQ group saying that he would ‘take extreme action’ that would be “reported by newspapers.” Dumb, but understandable, thing to say. But now he works at hard labor for a year. He’s not the first to serve time for being mad that his baby was murdered by a bunch of greedy trolls with Central Committee connections.

Wikileaks soldier sentenced. Private First Class Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst is being charged with two crimes for passing secret video footage of an attack to Wikileaks. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he’ll be charged with transferring classified information and violating federal laws on the handling of classified information.

Belarus’s Internet censorship and control laws now in effect. Decree No. 60 establishes control over Internet content and access, and requiring ISPs to register with the communication and information ministry and to identify all devices using its service to connect to the Internet, including phones.

NSA building cyber-attack detection system. In conjunction with the kill switch bill we reported on last week, the U.S. government is clearly headed the wrong way on Internet control issues. This sort of early-detection system, said to be build by military contractors Raytheon, is heavily positioned for abuse.

CNN fires editor for Tweet. Octavia Nasr, who was CNN’s senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, was fired after using her Twitter account to say, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Even if you did not appreciate her praise of a man who seemed to violent acts, the speed of the firing seemed a bit unseemly, if not arguably as unseemly as the praise itself.

Venezuela arrests more social media users. Two Twitter users were arrested for allegedly “spread(ing) malicious rumors” regarding the country’s economy “with the aim of creating runs on banks.” Notwithstanding “cui bono,” the phrasing sounds ominously like any of the other dozens of countries who arrest people for using social media and call it “libel” or “defamation” of one sacred cow or another. It never happens that those so arrested wind up being of the leadership’s political party (or ethnicity or religious denomination or whatever). They always somehow wind up being people who are critical of those who run the country. Perhaps these Twitterers really did spread false information in a malicious fashion in order to, for some reason, destabilize the economy of Venezuela. Either that or they don’t believe Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez did the right thing in his tenure economically, including closing down banks last year.

Tunis photo by Ashley Good

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