The Syrian Civil Conflict in the Cyber Environment

This document analyzes the use of the cyber environment in the Syrian civil war by both the population and the government in order to characterize online tactics and strategies developed and used by each belligerent.

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Introduction

This is an article I wrote a while ago and never got published. It’s a bit outdated now, but I still think it can be useful for historical purposes, so I’ll post a link to it below.

Abstract

This document analyzes the use of the cyber environment in the Syrian civil war by both the population and the government in order to characterize online tactics and strategies developed and used by each belligerent. This overview allows for generalization of online behavior by hacktivists and nation-state sponsored actors on communication networks in the region, which will continue to see online attacks from various parties in the foreseeable future during similar conflict. In Syria, because of poor infrastructure, low rate of Internet penetration and early adoption of control mechanisms by the current government, the authorities had dominance over their information environment early in the conflict, enabling rapid gathering of intelligence on dissidents. While social medias were leveraged by the population as in many other uprisings for coordination, it was also the theater of multiple offensive cyber operations by internal and external groups, mostly for information operations purposes. Despite the high level of activity, none appeared to have a definitive impact on the ground. While events recorded in this space have not reached the level of intensity of other conflicts, it proves a useful model for similar conflicts in the Middle East region.

Reference:

Racicot, Jonathan, The Syrian Civil Conflict in the Cyber Environment, https://www.academia.edu/15182402/The_Syrian_Civil_Conflict_in_the_Cyber_Environment, last accessed 2015-09-03

Facebook Profile from Image Filename

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This is not new and I’ve been knowing this for a while (and it’s all over the Internet anyway), but I keep forgetting the details. So basically to find a Facebook profile from the file name of an image, follow these steps:

  1. Images downloaded from Facebook always ends with “_n.jpg” and has 3 numbers divided by an underscore (“_”). For example: 1505501_1378549085743944_745448926_n
  2. The middle number is the Facebook Photo ID, this is the one you’ll need to locate the profile, in this example “1378549085743944”
  3. Then you plug your photo ID at the end of this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=[photo-id]
  4. If the picture is not shared, then you’ll get a “Content Unavailable” message, otherwise you’ll land on the profile.
File "1505501_1378549085743944_745448926_n.jpg"
Image file “1505501_1378549085743944_745448926_n.jpg”

So by going to https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1378549085743944, you’ll land on the profile where the picture was downloaded from:

Fake Facebook Profile of Chloe Moretz
Facebook profile corresponding to image id “1378549085743944”