Facebook scam targets Syrian rebels

Rebels in Syria now also have to worry about a phishing scam on Facebook.


Kevin Collier

Internet Culture

Published Mar 30, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 7:14 pm CDT

Rebels in Syria are facing a war on all sides from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad: Even their Facebook accounts are under attack.

A new phishing scam uses a fake link to target Syrian rebels who use the social media service. Under a video that purports to show a video of a captured target denouncing the Syrian government, a commenter posts a linked message in Arabic: “video leaked by security forces and thugs.. [which shows] Assad’s thugs…raping one of the women in captivity.”

The link leads to a page with a layout nearly identical to Facebook—but with a decidedly non-Facebook URL. Unsuspecting users who input their username and password inadvertently give pro-government hackers access to their accounts.

The Syrian government only unblocked Facebook and YouTube in February 2011, and those sites have figured into the Syrian uprising ever since. Facebook is one of the rebels’ few means to widely communicate. For example, earlier in March, Western media only learned of the rebels’ tactical retreat from the city of Homs when the Free Syrian Army posted an announcement on its wall.

Government forces have consistently tried to use rebels’ Internet use to their advantage, though. They’ve tried malware and other attacks, often by linking to sites that appear to be either Facebook or YouTube.

Photo by FreedomHouse2

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 30, 2012, 2:31 pm CDT