24 Jan

The Atlantic – The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks

After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook’s security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country’s Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users’ login information when they went to sites like Facebook.

By January 5, it was clear that an entire country’s worth of passwords were in the process of being stolen right in the midst of the greatest political upheaval in two decades. Sullivan and his team decided they needed a country-level solution — and fast.

Though Sullivan said Facebook has encountered a wide variety of security problems and been involved in various political situations, they’d never seen anything like what was happening in Tunisia.
“We’ve had to deal with ISPs in the past who have tried to filter or block our site,” Sullivan said. “In this case, we were confronted by ISPs that were doing something unprecedented in that they were being very active in their attempts to intercept user information.”

If you need a parable for the potential and pitfalls of a social-media enabled revolution, this is it: the very tool that people are using for their activism becomes the very means by which their identities could be compromised. When the details are filled in on the abstractions of Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov’s work on the promise (former) and danger (latter) of Internet activism, the ground truth seems to be that both had their visions play out simultaneously.

The Atlantic – The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks. I’m not sure what’s more shocking, that a country wide keylogger was in use, or that Facebook took these actions to defend their users and freedom of speech.