It’s been interesting watching the activities of the Syrian Electronic Army (or SEA for short). Having been around since 2011, there have been some questions about whether they are officially aligned with the Syrian Government or a ‘private’ Hacking organization along the lines of Anonymous. But to actually understand what they are, you need to look at their actions and not their words.
Their attacks have been routinely against outlets that publish opinions against the Syrian government. They’ve attacked Reuters, the Associated Press, Huffington Post, TIME, and CNN. They seem to have a special disdain for the NY Times, having attacked them several times.
What they do is just as telling as who they attack. Their attacks are focused on disabling the ability to communicate with the General public. The SEA will deface Websites and attempt to create Denial of Services using both standard DoS techniques and using Spam Attacks. All focused on disrupting the ability to communicate a Political point of view.
My opinion? Based on who the SEA has attacked and how they’ve attacked, I don’t see them as a Government driven agency of Syria but, rather, a group of private Hackers that want to support their Government. If this was actually a Government driven agency, their targets would be more strategic in nature and be against enemy States than against News Organizations with the goal of trying to disable some Critical Infrastructure.
Do you need to worry about the SEA? They are an annoyance to getting information but that’s it. Will they succeed in stifling free speech? The nature of the Internet is that there is always going to be multiple locations to get information. So, No, they won’t stifle free speech.
Will they succeed in what they are doing? These types of groups never succeed long term. So don’t worry about them. Just watch what they do and be entertained. The only people that are affected by them are the specific targets. Guess I’ll be next.