Welcome to Ushahidi, which means ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œtestimonyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in Swahili, where we are building a platform that crowdsources crisis information. Allowing anyone to submit crisis information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email or web form.
The Ushahidi Engine is a platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline. Our goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.
Ushahidi is a free and open source project with developers hailing from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the USA working on it.
War also rages on the internet. A tough on-line battle to influence public opinion is being fought in the shadow of the Israeli offensive. Both sides have become masters in the art of cyber warfare. Without let-up, photographs, videos and text are posted on the internet. However, it is the Arab digital world which has perfected the production of on-line propaganda to an art form.
Thousands of e-mails including the most horrific photographs of the Gaza Strip conflict are circulating in the Arab world. They also include photographs of dead Palestinian children, their small bodies completely destroyed. The captions read “Zionists are Nazis.
Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter en YouTube are used as weapons in the propaganda war.
But that is not the full extent of the on-line war. Hackers have attacked and taken over hundreds of web sites since the start of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. The site of Israel’s main newspaper Yediot Ahronot was hacked on Friday. People who surfed to the paper’s URL were redirected to a black page featuring anti-Israel propaganda and an Arab battle song. It took the newspaper at least half a day to regain control of its website.
At first glance, this sort of attack appears fairly harmless, but internet experts say they do constitute a threat. Research shows improved coordination of the attacks.
A group of Israeli students and would-be cyberwarriors have developed a program that makes it easy for just about anyone to start pounding on pro-Hamas websites. But using this “Patriot” software, to join in the online fight, means handing over control of your computer to the Israeli hacker group.
The online collective “Help Israel Win” formed in late December, as the current conflict in Gaza erupted.
Help Israel Win, which has websites in Hebrew, English, Spanish, French, Russian and Portugese, doesn’t say much about how the program functions — only that it “unites the computer capabilities of many people around the world. Our goal is to use this power in order to disrupt our enemy’s efforts to destroy the state of Israel. The more support we get, the more efficient we are.”
Analysis from iDefense and the SANS Institute, however, reveals that computer users put their PCs at risk when they run the Patriot software. The program connects a computer to one of a number of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers. Once the machine is linked up, Help Israel Win can order it to do just about anything.
and qudsvoice.net. But, as of now, the rest of the group’s pro-Hamas targets remain online.
Meanwhile, Help Israel Win has had to shift from website to website,
as they come under attack from unknown assailants.
social networking site Facebook has become an important venue in the Arab world for protesting the Israeli campaign, as well as a potent fundraising tool for supporters of the Palestinian cause.
Of course, Israel has plenty of Facebook friends as well. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported today how Matt Freelander, a young Jewish Londoner, organized a pro-Israeli demonstration through Facebook; around 1,000 people showed up for the rally. Radio Netherlands notes another Facebook site that aims to round up a million supporters of Israel.
The United States is unprepared for a major hostile attack against vital computer networks, government and industry officials said on Thursday after participating in a two-day “cyberwar” simulation.
The game involved 230 representatives of government defense and security agencies, private companies and civil groups.
Booz Allen Hamilton consulting service, which ran the simulation.
Democratic U.S. Rep. James Langevin of Rhode Island, who chairs the homeland security subcommittee on cybersecurity
Dire consequences of a successful attack could include failure of banking or national electrical systems, he said.
“This is equivalent in my mind to before September 11 … we were awakened to the threat on the morning after September 11.”
Officials cited attacks by Russia sympathizers on Estonia and Georgia as examples of modern cyberwarfare, and said U.S. businesses and government offices have faced intrusions and attacks.
DDoS, defacement, and espionage are not the same as taking out a power grid. And those are the kinds of attacks we saw in Georgia. – post by TransTracker
Billions of dollars must be spent by both government and industry to improve security, said U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the Democratic chairman of the intelligence subcommittee on technical intelligence.
Then of course Booz Allen is going to say that security is lacking! They stand to make a lot of money that way! – post by TransTracker
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, addressing the participants at the end of the exercise, predicted cyberattacks will become a routine warfare tactic to degrade command systems before a traditional attack. That is in addition to threats posed by criminal or terrorist attackers.
International law and military doctrines need to be updated to deal with computer attacks, Chertoff said.
“We know that if someone shoots missiles at us, they’re going to get a certain kind of response. What happens if it comes over the Internet?,” he said.
Another example of rhetoric that seeks to put cyber “attacks” on the level of traditional warfare. In this case, cyber “attacks” are compared to missile attacks. But are they really the same? At the same time, we see references to the case of Georgia. But I have seen no evidence that those cyber attacks had an impact on Georgian command and control. So there is a mismatch here between the future visions of what could happen, past/current cases of actual use, and the rhetoric used. – post by TransTracker