Now that we know way too much about Bashar al-Assad's personal life, we need to extend a warning so that his regime doesn't end up knowing too much about yours. There are a troubling number of links to a very convincing-looking but totally fake YouTube clone floating around the Internet right now that, when clicked, will prompt you to log in and/or download Flash software. If you do either of those things, you'll open yourself up to a cyber attack implemented by stealing your credentials or downloading malware onto your computer. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of these phishing sites has been taken down, but there's a real risk that more will pop up soon.
We don't yet know which hacker army is behind this rash of attacks. Last year, we blogged about the Syria Electronic Army who were congratulated by Assad for their work as "a real army in virtual reality." At that point in time, the faction had started going after dissenters on social networks like Facebook, but lately there've been "two instances of pro-Syrian-government malware targeting Syrian activists through links sent in chats and emails," says the EFF. YouTube makes for a good launching pad for someone like the Syrian Electronic Army to start battles with rebels and Westerners alike. It's one of the only windows into Syria that countries like the United States have right now, and it's one of the only ways that Syrian civilians have to speak to the outside world. Gird yourself for the YouTube revolution, because it looks like it's happening right now.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.