Publications

The internet in Syria: down, but not out

On 7 May 2013, Syria disconnected from the global internet for the third time since the beginning of the conflict. On 8 May, internet connectivity was restored. While analysts continue to speculate as to the cause of the disconnect, uncertainty remains. The internet in Syria: down,...

Syrian regime tightens access to secure online communications

The Syrian regime continues to block popular internet-based secure communication tools. In the past three months, the regime’s likely use of deep packet inspection (DPI)1 has required more sophisticated digital security methods to avoid online detection and blocking. Syrian regime tightens access to secure online communications...

Syria’s emerging war economy

New reports of Syrian military officers selling shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to opposition groups suggest the regime may be losing some control over its soldiers and weaponry. The emergence of weapon sales between warring factions is a dangerous development in the conflict. It raises fears of...

Chinese MANPADS in Syrian rebel hands

Rare footage of rebels firing a portable surface-to-air missile suggests  opposition forces may be receiving some of these weapons from abroad.  The unedited video, released this week, shows opposition fighters using  what appears to be a Chinese-made Man-Portable Air Defence System, or MANPADS, to down...

President Assad speaks; Syria’s internet goes dark

Syria’s President Assad used a very public television appearance on Sunday to signal his resolve to remain in power. But as Assad spoke, Syria’s internet was dark. The internet blackout started prior to Assad’s speech, which began at 10:00 GMT. Syria’s internet started to come...

Syria Cyber Watch #1

* Syria’s internet is fragmenting: In border areas, satellite connections and wireless links to neighbouring countries are startingto replace dependence on Syrian Telecom.* SecDev has recently launched “Black Watch” to document Syrian censorship and surveillance practices.* Syrian activists confirm the risks they face when going online.* Syria’s...

Syria reconnects

At approximately 14:30 GMT (9:30 EST), the SecDev Syria Operations Group (SOG) witnessed a substantial amount of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) route update announcements related to Syrian Internet Protocol (IP) blocks. The announcements were the precursor to most of the country going back online. Syria reconnects...

Syria goes offline

On 29 Nov. 2012 at 10:30 GMT, the Syrian Internet went almost completely offline. SecDev analysts traced the onset of the outage to unusual Border Gateway Protocol route withdrawals that began on 22 November 2012. While internet shutdowns are not unusual in Syria, the action...

Syria Cyber Watch #2

* Pro-regime botnet identified by SecDev is taken down by Twitter.* Rebel-produced YouTube video declaring plans to establish an Islamic state in Syria sparks a social media outcry.* Social media reports show the Free Syrian Army has captured portable surface-to-air missiles.* Syrian regime is blocking Virtual Private...