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Safety Advice
brought to you by
The Free Syrian
Computer Society

Bashar is a little busy these days, so the Anonymous legion decided to bring you some tips instead. We'll get to the tech details, but above all you must:

Bashar al-Assad - founder of the Syrian Computer Society
History's first geek despot.

...because unless you've taken precautions, the regime records every movement you make online. This information is personally identifiable to you: your social media, your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, everything. Using technology from Blue Coat Systems (USA), your entire internet life is being stored, permanently, for state intelligence to analyse. This isn't just a theory, here are a few days of leaked logs (IP addresses removed, for your privacy).

Political activists and ordinary people are already disappearing for sharing their opinions online so it's essential for the sake of you and your family that you are using a safe connection. Whoever you are, it's time to brush up on your personal security basics:

  1. Always use HTTPS where available, especially on social media (Facebook, Twitter), and email (GMail, Hotmail). Anything containing passwords, confidential or personal information. Before you log in to a website ensure you see https:// and not http:// as illustrated below in Internet Explorer. This one simple rule will prevent most spying (however, it does not prevent them from knowing the site you went to).

    the right way to do things the wrong way to do things the worst way to do things

    Move your mouse over these images and spot the differences. The third image illustrates a phishing attack, with a page pretending to be Facebook. These are regularly posted on anti-government Facebook pages, so beware.

  2. Next, if you are using Internet Explorer, you should get a newer and safer web browser! We recommend you install Firefox due to the extensive range of security plugins, fast response to new threats, and protection against phishing. Lets see the same situations in Firefox:

    the right way to do things the wrong way to do things the worst way to do things

    As you can see, Firefox makes it clearer you have a secure connection by displaying the owner of the certificate in a blue or green box next to the address. It also helps you spot phishing pages by fading the less relevant parts of the address. Always look for the darker part to identify a website.

    We strongly recommend you install the excellent Firefox plugin HTTPS Everywhere (direct link) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It will automatically use a secure connection on over 1000 websites.

  3. If you're undertaking risky activities like planning protests, reporting on events, or assisting the wounded, you should invest time in setting up a fully anonymous connection. If you can get a VPN - awesome! Use it and you will be well hidden. For most of us though - Tor is sufficient. Put simply, Tor is a volunteer network of servers which bounce your communications around the Internet, hiding where you are. It's important that you still use HTTPS, in case of man-in-the-middle attacks, but combined with the steps above, it provides good security.

    Tor has guides to help you install it. Unfortunately as part of their censorship effort, Tor is blocked by the Syrian government, so you will need a bridge to access the network.

    Other Tor users and Telecomix #opsyria can help you find and install one which works in Syria.

    Click to watch a video on installing Tor bridges (English)

Be vigilant, and look after one another online!

There are groups that will help you exercise your right to free expression. They are not affiliated with us, but they have our respect: