Modern times have changed the way wars are fought. A war is fought not just on the ground, air and sea but also in minds. A war is a mind game too. More recently, war has taken new forms. Who knows the art of electronic warfare better? It is none other than the Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad, who has unleashed the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) on opponents and the international media houses opposed to his regime. SEA hacks the websites of newspapers, business houses, twitter accounts and sports teams too.
Last week was a nightmare for some international media houses as the SEA hacked their websites and posted pro-Asad messages on them. The SEA backs the Bashar Al Assad government in Syria and has claimed responsibility for hacking the websites belonging to various organizations including the Human Rights Watch, Al Jazeera, the Associated Press, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The LA Times, Forbes, CNBC and some other organizations. It hacked into BBC Twitter Accounts to post pro-Assad slogans.
The victims received a message in the form of a popup saying –‘’You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.’’ Once, the victim clicks ‘’OK’’, they are redirected to a page with the SEA logo. There have been hackers since the time internet started but a government allegedly openly indulging in hacking and trying to silence the voice of the unfavourable media amounts to taking away the freedom to the media to report without fear or favour.
Media personnel and journalists are not safe on the streets and the new phenomenon is that they are not safe even in the confines of their offices. Hackers are mental thieves, who rob people of sensitive information and money. They indulge in propaganda which suit them. Internet has become a sort of a huge bathroom where everybody is nude and privacy elude the people.
Personal emails are hacked across the world. Money lost can be earned but integrity lost because of no fault of victims will be irreparable damage. The world is divided into the constructive and the destructive people. No amount of anti-spam software will make surfing better unless there is a change in the thought process of the hackers. The change should aim at positivity.
Well-known international columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, KohramNews, The Etemaad Urdu Daily and for newspapers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana