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Censorship Government Privacy Politics

Bahrain Activists Battered By IP Tracking Attacks 48

An anonymous reader writes "Having been targeted by malware in the past, anti-government protesters in Bahrain are now being hit hard by IP tracking attacks, according to a researcher. Bill Marczak, of Bahrain Watch and Citizen Lab, who is putting together a report on the attacks, said it appeared Bahrain officials had been masquerading as fake activists, sending obfuscated URLs to targets to learn their IP address. The next step is to take the IP address and the time of the click to the relevant ISP to find out who the user is. Then all sorts of things can happen. 'People who have clicked on these links have suffered various types of consequences ranging from having their houses raided and being charged for saying insulting things about the king on Twitter, or losing their jobs,' says Marczak. 'It looks like, from our investigation so far, in one case, the government did lock up the wrong person.'"
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Bahrain Activists Battered By IP Tracking Attacks

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  • by compucomp2 ( 1776668 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @12:53PM (#44425313)
    because the Bahrain government is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, and the USA has a big military base there. Consistently these protests have been ignored, or if covered, the Western media has put a pro government slant, especially on the Saudi Arabia aided crackdown awhile back. Western hypocrisy on full display, just like in a sports match it's just fine if your team does it while it's the embodiment of evil if the other team does it (see Libya, Syria).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Bahreini (Shia) activists should enlist the help of the (anti-Sunni) Syrian Electronic Army to get over this. This is the thing about the 'Arab Spring' - they are perfectly happy for Sunni majorities to come to power, be it in Egypt, Libya and now, Syria, but when it comes to Shia majorities coming to power, like in Bahrein or Iraq, they hate it. Actually, 'democracy' in these countries is just mob rule, and a license for the majority (be it Shia in Iraq or Sunnis in Syria) to do whatever they feel li
    • Doesnt the US get massively criticized as being an imperialistic, oil-interested monster every time we intervene overseas?

      • Exactly. Bad as they may be, they are far better without US intervention. See all those countries US "helped" to free from tyranny in the last decades for reference.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I love how /. is headed... when a country does something bad, it is the US's fault. Places like Syria which are true brutal hellholes (but not hellholes due to the US being involved) get a free pass.

  • When opposed to the NSA's NarusInsight devices simply sniffing all traffic, and if you try to obfuscate via VPN tunnels or Tor etc, doing traffic correlation attacks with known sites you're using to find out your identity. Mere use of Tor or a VPN should be able to stop this elementary scheme by the Bahraini police.

    But then, it's always an arms to see which side keeps ahead of whom....

  • by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @12:58PM (#44425403)

    If you're going to be a repressive tyrant, at least do it right. While the false positive rate on true dissidents probably limits the effectiveness to some degree, the much more chilling effect is to make people afraid to read any anti-regime news. That's probably much more valuable to them in the long run than nabbing a few people they consider troublesome.

  • Tor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:00PM (#44425417)

    This is what Tor is for. Use it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not quite. Of course this will help actual activists not get caught, but! As stated above, if a media-example is made of a few activists being caught, people (your dentist, grandma) will steer clear of even reading such news, because of the possibility of being tracked as transmitting anti-government material. And if you think "normal" folk are going to start using Tor, you're an idiot.

      That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the dude below who presses upon "us programmers" the need to embrace privacy and ano

  • Or is this a Tor troll?
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:39PM (#44425913)
    So now, since I'm from the US, I'm up to:
    The Thailand royal party sucks
    The queen of England sucks
    The king of Bahrain sucks
    Are there any I missed insulting where it's legal in the US but illegal in their own country?
    Anyway, anyone with a brain should be using TOR. They can track that all the way to a known exit node and that's it. Most smaller countries like this can't block every known TOR exit node either. Even China has problems blocking every single one.
    • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:46PM (#44425997) Homepage Journal

      Russia. Putin. See the story from earlier today.

    • by simtel ( 798974 )
      There are too few TOR exit nodes for everyone with a brain to use it. Now if they moved all the actual anti-establishment news to an onion address, then they could know that all non-onion links are propaganda or honeypots.
  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:39PM (#44425915)

    " one case, the government did lock up the wrong person."

    The fact they lock up anyone for speaking their mind makes that an oxymoron.

  • The hypocrisy of US (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Monarchy of Bahrain, has again and again, committed crimes against the civil population. Unlike other Arab nations, little or nothing is said in corporate media or by the US Gov. officials, simply because the Bahrain monarchy is an "ally" that allows an US military base in their soil.

    The last time a movement not too different to the Egyptians and Tunisians (plaza included); was dealt by bringing Saudi (foreign) military troops against the population. That monarchy further proceeded to demolish the place

    • by hduff ( 570443 )

      The Monarchy of Bahrain, has again and again, committed crimes against the civil population. Unlike other Arab nations, little or nothing is said in corporate media or by the US Gov. officials, simply because the Bahrain monarchy is an "ally" that allows an US military base in their soil.

      I suspect that there's very little pressure from the US government to not print these stories, it's just that the editorial board does not find it relevant or interesting to the targeted demographic of the media's advertisers.

      It's simply that news coverage of the death or oppression of thousands of non-US citizens does not boost circulation nor sell cars or burgers.

      Sad but true.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:52PM (#44426081) Homepage
    From Foreign Policy Magazine:

    Shortly before the Arab Spring, Hillary Clinton praised Bahrain for embarking upon a "democratic path." Obama has since called on Bahrain's rulers to implement reforms, but he's held back from speaking out as forcefully against the crackdown as he did with countries like Libya and Syria. The Obama administration is currently delaying a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain until an "independent" Bahraini panel issues a report on alleged human rights abuses during the uprising.

    Why is it we're not leaping to defend the uprisers? The U.S. Navy enjoys having its Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain. Bahrain lives adjacent to the persian gulf, which is incidentally pissing distance from our latest boogeyman Iran. Why no arms deal? its not because we give a shit so much as to ensure we can guarantee their military wont stage a coup in the name of the people and oust our convenient dictator...because thats a thing that sometimes happens when people dont like you sticking your dick in their regional politics.

    and if you're concerned this is an obama "thing," crack open your history books and turn to the carter doctrine. Jimmy basically guaranteed we have to spend the rest of our miserable existence stirring a kettle of kalashnikovs for cheap oil.

  • by colordev ( 1764040 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:20PM (#44426439) Homepage
    I don't know about your priorities, but "we the programmers" are important partners for those resisting true tyrannies. Thus, pursue making your programs compatible as tools of revolution - not something that will get freedom fighters and their friends thrown into jails.

    Consider communicating to the internet using HTTPS, TOR or something similar. Have cell-phone pictures (atleast those from the worst totalitarian countries) by default stripped off their GPS-data and other identification data. Embrace anonymity by default. And if possible make all your communication and messaging software end- to-end encrypted. And finally help the revolunaries getting rid of incriminating evidence from the hard disks, USB sticks; for example by overwriting data not just by removing filenames.

    Those who trust their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, upon your software do appreciate you going that extra mile.
  • The British government has sent high ranking police and intelligence officers on secondment into Bahrain to oversee the crackdown on democracy protesters. Under direct instructions from the UK, all activists, their families, friends and other associates are monitored 24/7. Key leaders are targeted for arrest, followed by either torture and then long prison sentences, or simple murder. The British are operating the same plans as they followed in various colonial states toward the end of the British Empire.


  • "Kingdoms" belong in the past. It's hypocritical of a democracy (maybe that should be in scare quotes) to even recognise a monarchy as a legitimate government (of course we all know the reasons why they do, convenience and favours chief amongst them).

    But yeah the rightful place for a King is in a guillotine, in my humble opinion.

    Kinda makes me despair about our species in general. We're always a slip away from this kind of bullshit in any society. Celebrity worship/obsession is the same kind of thing, nasce

    • As opposed to a republic, such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? The one that's now ruled by grandson baby Kim?
      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
        Calling it a republic doesn't make it one though does it? I believe it may technically still be a necrocracy (with head of state being Kim Jong-Il's long dead father) but in effect, it's a monarchy.
        • My point was that countries that officially overthrew monarchies simply replaced it w/ a different dynasty, w/o saying so in as many words. Like in Iraq, King Faisal was deposed, and replaced by Saddam, who, had he remained, would have had Udai or Qusay succeed him. Even though Saddam didn't call himself a sultan. In Libya, Gadaffi ousted a king in 1969, but in his succession would have been his son Saif al Islam. In Syria, Hafez al Assad originally planned to have his older son Basil succeed him, but a

          • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

            Totally fair. I think it boils down to marketing in a sense. Even China doesn't 'own up' to what it really is. What little voting that happens within the party is predetermined.

            Funnily enough I always thought it was an amazing coincidence that in a country where 'anyone' can be president you have George Bush and shortly later, Dubya. What are the odds eh? ;)

            • Actually, China hasn't seen the sort of nepotism that we have in the other examples, such as Cuba or North Korea. Yeah, its one party authoritarian rule ain't democratic at all, but monarchy vs republic is a different argument from autocracy vs democracy.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    i am in Bahrain - this article has been blocked from IP addresses in this country

  • Often when I sent out a tweet, I get a reply by some random vague twitter account with some obfuscated URL. I considered this to be spam (usually I don't click on it), but could it be some automated system run by some government to collect IP-addresses of people who post critical tweets?

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.