- By Sulome Anderson<p> Sulome Anderson is a recent alumna of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a feature writer with the Daily Star, an English-language newspaper in Beirut. </p>
Members of the amorphous hacker collective known as "Anonymous" released a video on YouTube Tuesday warning Egyptian president Mohamed Morsy that he risks cyberwarfare unless he relinquishes his claim to extrajudicial powers.
In the video, titled Anonymous #OpEgypt, a figure wearing the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask threatens cyberattacks against the Egyptian government as well as Morsy personally:
"Dr Morsy has repeatedly shown his lack of care about the core values of democracy…Now, he is gradually grasping more and more authoritarian power in his hands…To Dr. Morsy: Anonymous will not sit by and watch you washing away what thousands of Egyptians got killed and injured for…when you ignore this message, not only will we attack your organizations and websites; Anonymous will make sure you stand exposed against your people as well as the international community…we are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us."
This isn’t Anonymous’ first warning to the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian government. In a video released on Nov. 7, the group announced that it would shut down the official Brotherhood website; a threat which was carried out a few days later.
Anonymous played an important role in the original 2011 Egyptian uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak, when it successfully targeted a number of government websites and provided technical support to activists during a government-instituted Internet blackout.
Anonymous’ other recent notable attempt at targeted "hacktivism" in the Middle East occurred during the conflict in Gaza earlier this month, when it claimed to have defaced 10,000 Israeli websites and released the personal data of 5,000 Israeli government officials in a press statement. Israeli officials confirmed that the government had deflected over 44 million cyberattacks, but maintained that only one website was briefly shut down.
Cyberattacks have emerged as a popular form of activism in recent Middle Eastern conflicts, especially the Syrian uprising, which has prompted hacking attempts by pro and anti-regime groups. In August, hackers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad targeted Reuters and Al Jazeera, while an opposition group released what they claimed were over 3,000 personal emails between Assad and his wife in March.
Although it’s unclear how much damage Anonymous and other cyberactivists have actually inflicted on the governments and institutions they target, anyone who has ever had their computer freeze at an inconvenient moment can sympathize with what’s potentially in store for Morsy. Given the protests currently blazing across Egypt, it’s hard to imagine a more inopportune time for him to experience technical difficulties.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |
Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge.| Dispatch |