Over the weekend, activists with Anonymous and RevoluSec hacked into and defaced the official websites of every major city in Syria, along with the websites of several Syrian government departments and ministries. The hackers posted caricatures of President Bashar al-Assad on these sites and more importantly gave tips to Syrians about how to avoid detection while online from the Syrian government. As Amira Al Hussaini noted on Global Voices, they also posted on the government websites:
an interactive map of Syria, showing the names, ages and date of deaths of victims of the Syrian regime since the protests started in March.
In a secure online chatroom, a member of RevoluSec told Al Jazeera yesterday about how they see hacking playing into the overall movement against Assad:
It works a few different ways. First, it raises awareness in places where, perhaps, public awareness has not been raised regarding the extent of the atrocities committed by the regime. Particularly in the city websites, we wanted to send a very strong message about the numbers of Syrians killed thus far in the uprising and really present it in a visual way to casual observers who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the events in Syria.
Really sending that visual message that we essentially plastered in the faces of government officials is intriguing – they cannot look away from those numbers of dead people, and people looking at these statistics for the first time will really get a grasp of just what the casualty numbers are there.
Second, the messages are also a strong show of our support and solidarity with the Syrian people. The Syrian demonstrators and the defecting soldiers are actively challenging the accepted scope of the government’s authority – despite the knowledge that each day that they take to the streets to protest, record an act of violence, write a critique of the regime, etc, they face the very real threat of being arrested, disappeared, detained, tortured or possibly murdered.