The SalamaTech emergency help desk provides digital security support to Syrian nonviolent actors. We answer questions related to digital security and help these people maintain and secure their online assets.
The internet is a frontline in the Syrian conflict. Syrians are being captured and killed because of their online activities. Syrians are tortured for their Facebook passwords – as access exposes everyone who is connected to the victim’s online networks. There is evidence to suggest the threat is coming from many armed groups, state and non-state actors alike.
The information war that has accompanied the actual war in Syria has utilized existing tools to silence others. This manifests in the form of mass reporting campaigns to close down YouTube channels and Facebook accounts where Syrians share news.
Rural Syrian women are particularly vulnerable online. As a result of the conflict, many women now find themselves the heads of households, and as such are connecting online for the first time. Unfortunately, lacking sufficient experience in using the internet, these women are unaware of the risks associated with digital technologies.
Number of Devices with Improved Security
Syrians Supported Through Our Emergency Help Desk
When a person is arrested, detained or kidnapped, SalamaTech helps close down online accounts to prevent captors from accessing wider social networks.
When mass reporting campaigns lead social networks to mistakenly shut down Syrian accounts, we work with service providers to reinstate affected channels. Our support covers networks including Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Skype.
Non-violent actors are targeted with malware by hostile actors, sometimes losing access to their online accounts. SalamaTech helps them retrieve these accounts and deal with the malware issues faced.
SalamaTech provides easy-to understand information to raise awareness and foster skills on digital safety. Our team is available for Syrians to ask questions directly, but also publishes helpful material on our Digital Safety Wiki, the Be Heard learning portal, through print distribution partners inside Syria, and on local radio.
We, the Facebook Media Group, have worked since 2011 as citizen journalists in Syria. Our mission is to pass information to the outside world. Some of our people have lost their lives to deliver this news on our Facebook pages. However, we have had a lot of our Facebook pages closed. Thanks to SalamaTech we now better understand Facebook community standards. Thank you. We wish that your team could act as a permanent mediator between us and Facebook.
Thanks a lot for helping us close the hacked Skype account. The hacker was using my account to blackmail all my contacts. He even asked for money to return my account. I manage almost all media groups in Homs. I had almost 200 contacts in my list. Acting quickly prevented this hacker from causing more damage. Before contacting Salamatech, I send two forms to Skype but got no response. I have asked all my networks to follow Salamatech’s posting to be aware of any new digital threats.
Thanks a lot for warning people about malicious links. I am really grateful to see that you took the time to alert me personally. We are not tech savvy people. All my friends are older people who use Facebook to communicate with activists and family members in Syria. Sometimes, we just click on random links assuming they are new videos or posts.
Thanks for Salamatech’s help. Our accounts and devices were hacked several times as we are on Skype groups and we get all sorts of link. Many of us know how to use technology, but we lacked awareness and neglected our responsibilities and ability to protect our devices and data.
My two sons were arrested in the early days of the revolution. My oldest was arrested in a protest in Damascus. The security forces went to his house and confiscated his laptop. Two hours later, my younger son was arrested. Security forces went through his Skype history and found a conversation between the two brothers coordinating to go to the protest. I wish I knew then that they had to delete their conversations on Skype and Facebook. At least I could have warned them and had one of them with me now. What SalamaTech is doing is very important.