02 Feb

The Big Picture – A harrowing, historic week in Egypt

They have been days of chants and chaos, bloodshed mixed with moments of breathtaking solidarity between the protesters and the soldiers sent to subdue them. The flame of social unrest that first flickered in Tunisia has spread to Egypt, culminating with the announcement Tuesday by President Hosni Mubarak that after three decades in power, he would not run for another term. The clashes left government buildings in ashes, stores ransacked, and an economy teetering. Cairo’s international airport teemed with Americans and other foreigners trying to flee; Egypt’s tourism industry froze. At Cairo’s Liberation Square, Mubarak’s announcement was met with jeers and calls for an immediate resignation. Pro-Mubarak forces struck back, attacking the protesters in waves. The country of 80 million, rich in history but bereft of personal freedoms, awaits the next stage. Collected here are images from the last week focusing inside Egypt. — Lloyd Young

via The Big Picture – A harrowing, historic week in Egypt. Some incredibly powerful images here of the Egyptian protests.

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.

11 Jan

Electronic Frontier Foundation – EFF Calls for Immediate Action to Defend Tunisian Activists Against Government Cyberattacks

Demonstrations and protests over unemployment and poor living conditions have been ongoing in Tunisia since the beginning of December, but last week the Tunisian government turned up the heat on bloggers, activists, and dissidents by launching a JavaScript injection attack that siphoned off the usernames and passwords of Tunsians logging in to Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. The Tunisian government has used these stolen credentials to log in to Tunisians’ email and Facebook accounts, presumably downloading their messages, emails, and social graphs for further analysis, and then deleting the accounts entirely.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – EFF Calls for Immediate Action to Defend Tunisian Activists Against Government Cyberattacks. Umm, wow, glad I don’t live in Tunsia.