Cyber war escalates in Syria

A sophisticated cyber insurgency is battling a shadowy team working on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria with both sides bent on sabotaging, disrupting and destroying their adversary, reports Defense News.

The government appears to have been using cyber tools as part of its counterinsurgency tactics throughout the conflict, the story said. One sophisticated cyber operation was run by supporters of the Syrian government after most Syrian activists and opposition figures had found ways of using secure connections to avoid surveillance.

In one offensive effort, opposition activists were encouraged to download what was purported to be Skype encryption software, but was really a fake tool that allowed malware, the story said. It let in a Trojan known as “DarkComet,” which is best described as a remote administration tool that allows an attacker to capture webcam activity, disable the notification setting for certain antivirus programs, record key strokes and steal passwords.

DarkComet and other malware infections have forced anti-regime Syrians to find alternative methods to coordinate or communicate with fellow activists or bloggers, the story said.

As for anti-Assad forces, they have allied themselves with Anonymous to hack President Bashar al-Assad’s personal e-mails and have carried out operations to deface Syrian web pages, the story said.

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