The Syrian authorities using malware to spy on anti-government activists. Online comedians comment on the outcome of France’s presidential election. And an American radio host creates the ultimate viral video…
Syrian government using malware to spy on activists
This website provides software claiming to encrypt Skype video conferencing software, but according to computer security firm “Trend Micro”, it is actually spyware that collects all sorts of information from the computers it infects and sends the data on to a server located in Syria.
Similar malicious software or malware was spread a few weeks ago via a fake site masquerading as video sharing platform YouTube which Syrian opposition activists use on a daily basis to report on the repression across the country. These anti-government cyber activists are regularly targeted by these types of electronic traps, designed to monitor their online activity.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group based in the US, there has been a proliferation of these phishing attempts on Facebook in recent weeks. For example, links have been slipped into the commentary boxes on pages visited by cyber activists; links which redirect the user to a fake page on the well-known social network, with a view to stealing their user names and passwords.
The United States has decided to clamp down on these practices. Last month, Barack Obama announced sanctions on individuals or organizations found using new technology to carry out human rights abuses in Syria and Iran. The measures also apply to western companies that help these countries create web censorship tools or systems to track and monitor web users.
French election: web users react to the results with humour
François Hollande’s victory and Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat in France’s presidential election on Sunday have provided online comedians with an endless source of inspiration: they have been having a field day poking fun at the outgoing president. Here’s a look at some of the best creations doing the rounds on the web following the announcement of the election outcome.
The team behind this video is celebrating the end of Nicolas Sarkozy’s time in power: it’s shown as the closing credits of a film, entitled “Le Quinquennat” meaning the five year period, it lists all the defeated French president’s colleagues and allies, with a tongue in cheek take on the roles they played in this five year long feature film.
Another parody cashing in on Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat: this revisited version of a track by French rap group « Sexion d’assaut ». The song was posted online by a web user going under the pseudonym “Mister JDay” and looks back at key moments of the outgoing president’s mandate, reminding him there is still cause for satisfaction; he may not have won the election, but he is still married to Carla Bruni.
Collaborative information site Rue89 has produced a spoof of the highly popular « Angry Birds » video game; it’s called « Ciao Sarko ». The goodies, the birds, have been replaced by François Hollande and the baddies, the pigs, by Nicolas Sarkozy. The video promises a new game in 2017.
And finally, some have come up with some somewhat wacky ways of toasting France’s new president. British actor Sacha Baron Cohen for example has uploaded this video, which sees him dressed up his dictator character congratulating François Hollande. In his address, the comedian does slip in however the fact that he was disappointed his idol Dominique Strauss Khan was unable to run in the presidential election.
The actor Leonardo DiCaprio or golfer Tiger Woods dressed as generals from the 19th century Imperial army… blogger Steve Payne has played around with canvases by British painter George Dawe who is known, in particular, for his 329 portraits of Russian generals that defeated Napoleon when he invaded Russia in 1812. He has replaced the heroes’ faces with those of his friends and family and also some celebrities. 23
Now trending on social networks
Josephine Lamberti, aka J-Dimps, has set herself the unlikely challenge of reaching the 80,000 Twitter followers mark before she dies. The 80 year old American woman has enlisted the help of her grandson, and is grabbing web users’ attention by flooding the web with messages and videos full of self-deprecating humour. She has also been calling upon celebrities for their support, some have obliged, helping this very special grandmother reach her goal, she is now not far off, with near to 77 000 followers on the micro blogging site.
Video of the day
To celebrate his YouTube channel passing the symbolic bar of 100 million views, American radio host Ryan Seacrest decided to create the ultimate viral video: it features Justin Bieber and other elements which generally guarantee it’s going to create a buzz; like puppies or babies… you can check out the video in its entirety on Seacrests’s official channel on the video sharing platform.