Tweeting The Revolution Is Not Without Risks

The biggest story about Iran, besides the protestors themselves, is the protesters’ use of social networking sites, especially Twitter, to help perpetuate the images and stories of what is happening on the ground.

But these same sites that can fuel a revolution can also be misused, as noted here in a recent SANS ISC diary:

From an information security perspective, the threat is leading people to malicious websites. Set up a blog with an archive of posts on the issue, “borrow” a few pictures of the conflict and post them. Tweet a message that says “live images of protestors being shot at” and point to your blog that also includes pre-tested malware that is known to be not detected by AV vendors. Twitter and social networking tools provide another mechanism to lead people to the cyber-threat where only e-mail was used before. Twitter has no “anti-spam” features, everyone talking about a subject shows up.

So while the use of twitter and other tools provide for a means to breach censorship rules of foreign regimes, it does not come without risks. Is the information valid? Is it leading you to malware infecting your machine?

Simple precautions should be taken when viewing these sites — at the very least, make sure your AV is up to date, and use Firefox with the NoScript add-on.

We’re only at the early stages of this kind of political “hacktivism,” and as our lives turn increasingly digital, the tools and technologies we use are simultaneously connecting us to others as well as putting us at risk.

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One response

  1. Even our pc’s aren’t safe from Twitter pings anymore isn’t it?

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