The WikiLeaks website recently began publishing over two million e-mails from Syrian government officials. WikiLeaks says that these e-mails will embarrass Damascus, which is currently trying to quash a 16-month rebellion.
Allegedly, the hacked documents originated from government ministries, political figures and companies in Syria, with dates ranging from August of 2006 to March of this year. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, stated that the material will reflect poorly on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as his adversaries and the Baath Party.
The violent internal conflict has torn the country apart and caused a widespread condemnation of President Assad. He ordered a harsh oppression of the uprising against him, and referred to it as a war against terrorists.
Learning about the latest leak of information thought to be private really makes one think about computer security, data protection and cloud backup. Without offsite hosting technology, any information — especially sensitive e-mails and documents — is at risk.
The Syria Files
WikiLeaks stated that the e-mails, which are being referred to as The Syria Files, would reveal secrets of the Syrian government and economy. The information contained in these e-mails ranges from financial records sent from Syrian ministries to various nations, to intimate correspondence between senior Baath party figures.
The nearly two-and-a-half million e-mails are written in several languages including Russian, English and Arabic. Due to the immense collection of information, it will take time to verify each e-mail. However, WikiLeaks is confident that the majority of this data is legitimate.
The Situation in Damascus
The revolt began with passive pro-democracy protests in March of 2011. It has nearly turned into a civil war due to a government crackdown which triggered an uprising of armed citizens. Western governments and opposition leaders have stated that more than 15,000 people have been killed during this uprising, while the Syrian government says that terrorist gangs from overseas have killed thousands of police and troops.
According to the United Nations, heavy fighting is forcing thousands of families in Syria to leave their homes behind. Many of the approximately 200,000 people residing in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, have fled to the capital following heavy eruptions of physical violence.
Approximately 30,000 people decided to leave the city of Deir al-Zor. The residents of Idlib and Hama have moved toward Aleppo.
The United Nations has also warned that food prices in some parts of the country have tripled because harvests were delayed due to a diesel shortage.
Since the fighting began, over one hundred thousand Syrian refugees have registered in Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, according to Reuters. Following two days of fighting, opposition forces pulled out of the city of Khan Sheikhoun because they ran out of ammunition. A rebel spokesman told Reuters that the Free Army withdrew because Assad’s army is in control of the remaining ammunition, and that Assad’s army is now burning down houses.
The Information Leak
25 of the hacked Syrian e-mails have already been published on the WikiLeaks site, showcasing how easy it is for hackers to get to even the most secure information. One conversation between the companies Intracom and Selex details a discussion from February of this year. It shows that the two companies collaborated to provide the Syrian government a secure communication system called Tetra. In an earlier message, the difficulties of getting American-made parts for the Tetra system, due to sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Syria, is discussed.