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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

China is number one

Internet users

China is number one

Jan 26th 2009
From Economist.com

More than a billion people are using the internet

THE number of people going online has passed one billion for the first time, according to comScore, an online metrics company. Almost 180m internet users—over one in six of the world's online population—live in China, more than any other country. Until a few months ago America had most web users, but with 163m people online, or over half of its total population, it has reached saturation point. More populous countries such as China, Brazil and India have many more potential users and will eventually overtake those western countries with already high penetration rates. ComScore counts only unique users above the age of 15 and excludes access in internet cafes and via mobile devices.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository

Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository

Welcome to the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository

On this site you will find select broadcast quality footage that Al Jazeera has released under various Creative Commons licenses. Through Creative Commons licensing, you are able to legally share and reuse our footage. Learn More.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004

Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn't the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you quit now, you're in good company. Notorious chatterbox Jason Calacanis made millions from hisWeblogs network. But he flat-out retired his own blog in July. "Blogging is simply too big, too impersonal, and lacks the intimacy that drew me to it," he wrote in his final post.

Impersonal is correct: Scroll down Technorati's list of thetop 100 blogs and you'll find personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones. Most are essentially online magazines: The Huffington Post. Engadget. TreeHugger. A stand-alone commentator can't keep up with a team of pro writers cranking out up to 30 posts a day.

When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google's search results for any given topic, fueled by generous links from fellow bloggers. In 2002, a search for "Mark" ranked Web developer Mark Pilgrim above author Mark Twain. That phenomenon was part of what made blogging so exciting. No more. Today, a search for, say, Barack Obama's latest speech will deliver a Wikipedia page, a Fox News article, and a few entries from professionally run sites like Politico.com. The odds of your clever entry appearing high on the list? Basically zero.

That said, your blog will still draw the Net's lowest form of life: The insult commenter. Pour your heart out in a post, and some anonymous troll named r0rschach or foohack is sure to scribble beneath it, "Lame. Why don't you just suck McCain's ass." That's why Calacanis has retreated to a private mailing list. He can talk to his fans directly, without having to suffer idiotic retorts from anonymous Jason-haters.

Further, text-based Web sites aren't where the buzz is anymore. The reason blogs took off is that they made publishing easy for non-techies. Part of that simplicity was a lack of support for pictures, audio, and videoclips. At the time, multimedia content was too hard to upload, too unlikely to play back, and too hungry for bandwidth.

Social multimedia sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook have since made publishing pics and video as easy as typing text. Easier, if you consider the time most bloggers spend fretting over their words. Take a clue from Robert Scoble, who made his name as Microsoft's "technical evangelist" blogger from 2003 to 2006. Today, he focuses on posting videos and Twitter updates. "I keep my blog mostly for long-form writing," he says.

Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004. You'll find Scoble, Calacanis, and most of their buddies from the golden age there. They claim it's because Twitter operates even faster than the blogosphere. And Twitter posts can be searched instantly, without waiting for Google to index them.

As a writer, though, I'm onto the system's real appeal: brevity. Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter's character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase. @WiredReader: Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won't find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards. C u on Facebook?

Paul Boutin (paul@valleywag.comis a correspondent for the Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag.

Has blogging had its day

Has blogging had its day?

Four years ago, blogging seemed fresh and exciting. It gave voice to anyone who could get online, and a potential audience that stretched around the globe. But how long will it last?

Twitter on a mobile

To tweet or not to tweet?

The irony is not lost on me. In fact it's the deep irony of blogging about the death of blogging that proved irresistible. In keeping with this new media conundrum, the the imminent death of the blog is raised in an online story over at Wired.

And good points it raises too. I read only a handful of blogs regularly, mostly those with a scientific leaning such as Cosmic Variance, but if I look for more general-interest blogs I feel swamped by the sheer number. It feels as though I would have to spend an unhealthy amount of time online just finding out which blog writers I enjoy. And although life is not as short as it used to be, it's still too short.

What I like about the Wired piece is its suggestion that things can change quickly enough to get around these problems. You can be sure that when a problem does arise (in the case of blogs, the time and effort to construct flowing prose – no fear of that here), people will develop new software and change how things are done. Just like that.

I'd be interested in hearing if many of you use Twitter. We used the Twitter service from Nasa's Mars Phoenix probe a while back, and it was pretty informative. There's even a haiku-esque skill that seems to develop among Twitter writers because of the strict word limit each message can carry. Change, eh? You've got to love it.

Has blogging had its day?

Has blogging had its day?

It is not worth starting a blog, and if you already have one you should think about closing it down, an article on the technology website Wired says. Robin Hamman, of computing consultancy Headshift, and Guardian writer and blogger Kate Bevan discuss whether shorter forms of communication, such as Twitter, are taking over.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pro-Gaza hackers target Israeli websites

Pro-Gaza hackers target Israeli websites 
Fri, 02 Jan 2009 17:17:49 GMT 
Turkish protesters burn Israeli, United Nations and US flags in Istanbul on January 02. Despite international calls for Israel to end its military offensive, the US use of veto power has blocked the most recent UN resolution sought against Tel Aviv.
A number of frequently-visited Israeli websites have been defaced amid indications of an imminent full-scale ground offensive into Gaza. 

Since an Israeli military campaign against the Gaza Strip began on Saturday, various Israeli websites have come under cyber attack. 

The widely-circulated Israeli daily's website,
Ynetnews.com, has been defaced and is now a picture guide to the progressive takeover of Palestinian land by settlers since 1946. 

The website, which is widely acknowledged as pro-Zionism, also draws parallels between the US conduct in Iraq and the Israeli siege on Gaza with a picture showing Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks above an image of American soldiers torturing detainees in Abu Ghraib prison. 

Hackers also hacked into the Bank Discount website on Friday, according to
Ha'aretz, publishing further messages in condemnation of Israeli crimes. 

Bank officials responded by assuring customers that their accounts had not been touched. 

The number of websites defaced since the Saturday air operations against the Gaza Strip has reportedly been in the thousands with small businesses and vanity websites having been affected most. 

"RitualistaS GrouP Hacked your System!!! The world isn't insurance!!! For a better world," 
PC World quoted the website of Israel's Galoz Electronics Ltd as reading after it was hacked on Wednesday. 

One hacker, called Cold Z3ro, claims to have hacked nearly 5,000 webpages, says Gary Warner, the director of research in computer forensics with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

According to the forensics expert, the majority of hacking groups operate out of Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran. 

Israel began air operations against the Gaza Strip -- home to 1.5 million Palestinians -- on Saturday. The attacks have so far left over 430 Palestinians dead and more than 2250 injured. 

Israel says through its military campaign, it seeks to topple the Hamas movement, which took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after winning the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections in January 2006. 

In retaliation to the attacks on Gaza, Hamas has been launching rocket strikes against Israel. Unlike the state-of-the-art weapons and ammunition Israel holds, the homemade Qassam rockets rarely cause casualties. 


سعوديون ينتجون شريطا مصورا للدفاع عن أطفال غزة على "يوتيوب"

ترجم بالإنكليزية لمخاطبة الرأي العام الغربي
سعوديون ينتجون شريطا مصورا للدفاع عن أطفال غزة على "يوتيوب"
أطفال غزة يواجهون كارثة إنسانية

الدمام- إيمان القحطاني

بادرت مجموعة من الشباب والطلبة الجامعيين السعوديين إلى إنتاج شريط فيديو مصور يشرح معاناة الأطفال وما يتعرضون له في قطاع غزة، واستطلعت المجموعة من خلال شريطها "لماذا لا يستحق أطفال غزة أن يقتلوا؟" الذي بث عبر موقع "يوتيوب" عدداً من الآراء حول مأساة غزة.

وساهمت مجموعة من طلبة جامعة الملك فهد للبترول والمعادن في المنطقة الشرقية بعمل لقاءات ميدانية مع عدد من الأشخاص في الأماكن العامة وداخل الحرم الجامعي.

وقال صاحب الفكرة المدون رائد السعيد إنه استلهم مادته بعد مشاهدته لفيلم وضع على اليوتيوب تحت عنوان "الأطفال سيتحولون إلى هياكل عظمية"، لصاحبه "ماد في". كما تم اقتباس المشهد الأول عن الفلم الوثائقي الشهير "الاحتلال 101"، والذي يظهر طفلة فلسطينية تقف داخل أطلال منزلها الذي تم تدميره واصفة ما حل بأسرتها وألعابها. كما تساءلت المجموعة بعد المشهد الأول حول ما إذا كانت تلك الطفلة ما تزال على قيد الحياة.

وأوضح السعيد لـ"العربية نت" أنه تم اختيار سؤال محدد بحيث لا تتعدى الإجابة عليه عشر ثوان، ومن ثم تم وضع الإعلان بمساعدة صديقه عبد الله أبا حسين، وذلك لجمع الآراء وإرسال المقاطع المرئية عن طريق الموقع الشهير "فيس بوك، مضيفا "قام بعض الطلبة بإرسال 13 لقاء مصورا يجيب على السؤال".

وأضاف أن ما استدعاهم للعمل على هذا الفيديو هو الشعور العارم بأن حياة الأطفال في غزة ليست لها قيمة عند الغرب، قائلا "أردنا تذكيرهم بأن قيمة أطفالهم لا تختلف عن أطفال غزة، وأن أطفال غزة ليسوا إرهابيين محتملين ليتم قتلهم بهذه البشاعة".

وقال السعيد إن صاحب "مركز الإنتاج الوثائقي" في الرياض صالح القصير قام بعرض خدماته للمساعدة في إنتاج الفيديو المرئي، "كنا سنقوم بإنتاجه كالعادة على جهاز الكمبيوتر، إلا أن شركة الإنتاج تبرعت بعمل ذلك بشكل أكثر حرفية".

وأشار السعيد إلى أن مطالبات عدة وصلتهم لإضافة صور لأشلاء الأطفال في غزة إلا أنه عارض ذلك، وقال "لم أرغب في تنفير المشاهد من الفيديو وخاصة أني أستهدف الرأي العام الغربي ".

من جهته، قال الشاب مسفر الغامدي إن الإعلان الذي وضعته المجموعة على موقع "فيس بوك" لفت نظره. وأضاف "رأيته وقمت فورا بحمل الكاميرا والنزول إلى الشارع للتصوير. حاولت أن أفعل شيئا من أجل أطفال غزة وهو أقل ما يمكن عمله".

أما الصحافي عمر عثمان وهو أحد المشاركين في الإجابة عن السؤال من خلال الفيديو، فقال إنه تفاجأ بأحد زملائه يطرح عليه السؤال أثناء جلوسه في أحد مجمعات التسوق، معتبرا أن هذه المبادرة شكل حضاري ولون من ألوان التعبير السلمي والإيجابي في ظل الصمت العربي الرسمي، على حد تعبيره.

وصاحب المقطع المترجم إلى اللغة الانكليزية إحصاءات لعدد قتلى غزة من الأطفال منذ بدء العدوان الإسرائيلي على غزة وحتى الآن، إضافة إلى ألحان مؤثرة، رافقتها آراء عدد من المشاركين جاء من بينها "الأطفال هم المستقبل، وحين تقتلهم فأنت تقتل المستقبل". وأيضا "لأنهم لم يختاروا أن يولدوا في غزة" و"لأنهم أشخاص أبرياء لا يستحقون الموت".

وشارك في الإجابة على السؤال عدد من الأطفال و الشباب والأساتذة الجامعيين، من جنسيات مختلفة.

Another way to look at the crisis

Another way to look at the crisis

Digital Planet
Alka Marwaha 
BBC World Service

London protesters (PA)
A self-regulating and moderated forum can bring calm to a heated debate
A new web tool is being used to help foster sensible debate about the conflict in Gaza.

Debategraph is a browser-based web application that gives a visual representation of the intricate arguments and issues in a heated debate - more recently being used to create order from the chaos surrounding the crisis in Gaza.

The site operates like a wiki, where people can modify information and make their own contributions.

Visual arguments

A strength of the site's "Explorer view" for a given issue is that the arguments can be laid out visually, in contrast to other wikis such as Wikipedia.

David Price, one of the founders of the tool, spoke to BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

"There are spheres with arrows connecting them and each of the spheres on the screen represents one small meaningful chunk of the debate or the argument," said Mr Price.

An image of spheres and arrows depicting a debate on the Gaza crisis
The spheres represent various questions that are raised in a debate
"By clicking on the spheres, you can move through a complex multi-dimensional structure, which is trying to match all of the issues that are live in the public debate around the crisis in Gaza.

"That includes the motives for the Israeli and Hamas attacks, questions around how the conflict can be resolved, and whether the Israeli military action is justifiable," he said.

"One of the points about the structure is that anyone can add new spheres to it and anyone can edit the text and reasons," said Mr Price.

"The arguments can also be rated, so that you begin to sift and get a cumulative distillation of everyone's thinking about the subject, which hopefully will embody everyone's perspective.

"With a debate map you are trying to capture all of the arguments that people are talking about and trying to represent those as succinctly and fairly as you can do.

"The community waiting for those arguments begins to be reflected in the visual display of the map, through the thickness of the arrows connecting the spheres," he added.

Sensible debate

Each of the spheres has a different colour, representing different structural components in the debate.

Blue spheres indicate that a user has suggested an answer to a question that has been asked.

Red and green spheres indicate respectively opposing and supportive arguments for the positions being suggested.

Although no website can remain immune to hackers or overzealous ideologues, David Price feels that it does have advantages over other debate platforms such as blogs and forums.

 The question becomes, 'Can you improve that argument or can you respond to it and challenge that argument?' 
David Price

"In comparison to comments on a forum or a blog, the same arguments are often repeated over and over again, and then the debate would descend into a slagging match after a certain number of iterations," said Mr Price.

"The way that the map works is that once an argument is being represented on the map, it's there and everyone can see that that argument is being heard.

"Then the question becomes, can you improve that argument or can you respond to it and challenge that argument?

"This tends to lead to more constructive discussion," he said.

Along with topical issues such as the Gaza conflict, Debategraph hosts discussions on many other topics such as the legalisation of drugs and road congestion.

«الجهاد الإلكتروني» يصيب الجيش الأمريكي وحلف الأطلسي

سهام إحولين

موقعا حلف شمال الأطلسي والجيش الأمريكي هما آخر ضحايا الحرب الإلكترونية التي يقودها القراصنة العرب والمسلمون على المواقع الإلكترونية الإسرائيلية والأمريكية دعما لغزة. 
هجمات الهاكرز هذه أدت إلى توقيف موقع الجيش الأمريكي بمقاطعة واشنطن وموقع الجمعية العامة لحلف شمال الأطلسي (ناتو)، وفيما عاد موقع الناتو إلى نشاطه الطبيعي بعد معالجة الخلل، حسب موقع Zone-H المتخصص، مازال موقع الجيش الأمريكي لا يعمل، وقد حاولت «المساء» دخول الموقع عدة مرات للتأكد من كونه مازال معطلا لكنه لم يفتح. وقد ترك الهاكرز على صدر صفحته الأولى: «أوقفوا الهجمات يا إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة الأمريكية إنكم شعب ملعون! يوما ما سينظف المسلمون العالم منكم!”. 
“مجموعة السلام” هي التي تقف وراء هذه القرصنة، حسب الموقع نفسه، وهي مجموعة من الهاكرز الأتراك. وتعد هذه المجموعة مسؤولة عن عدد من الهجمات في الأشهر الأخيرة، من أبرزها قرصنة مواقع مايكروسوفت في كندا، والصين وإيرلندا وموقع شيل، وموقع جامعة هارفرد. 
قرصنة المواقع الإلكترونية الإسرائيلية والأمريكية كجزء من الهجمات المضادة لما يحدث في غزة، أصبح الآن يعرف لدى كثيرين بـ“المقاومة الإلكترونية” أو “الجهاد الإلكتروني”، وقد تم اختراق آلاف المواقع الإسرائيلية منذ بدء القصف الإسرائيلي على قطاع غزة من طرف هاكرز عرب ومسلمين من أبرزهم الهاكرز المغاربة. 
ما شجع هؤلاء الهاكرز على اختراق المواقع وترك صور الأطفال الفلسطينيين القتلى على صدر صفحاتها الأولى، هو الفتوى التي أصدرها الأزهر في هذا الشأن، في نهاية غشت من السنة الماضية، والتي أجازت استخدام التكنولوجيا الحديثة في الهجوم على المواقع الإسرائيلية والأمريكية التي تسيء إلى الإسلام والمسلمين وتدميرها، وكذلك الرد عليها، باعتبار أن ذلك نوع من أنواع الجهاد المعاصر. 

وأوضحت الفتوى أن “من مزايا شريعة الإسلام أنها حددت مفاهيم الألفاظ تحديدا واضحا دقيقا حتى تتضح الأمور، فحددت معنى كلمة “الجهاد” في الإسلام، وأنه مأخوذ من الجهد بمعنى المشقة والتعب، فالمجاهد هو من بذل أقصى طاقته في دفع عدوان المعتدين، وفي تأديب البغاة والظالمين”. 
“ومن هنا -يضيف نص الفتوى- فما ظهر عبر شبكات مما يسمى بـ“الجهاد الإلكتروني” أمر جائز شرعاً، لأنه من وسائل مقاومة العدو، خاصة أن العدو يبث عبر شبكات الأنترنت أمورا تسيء إلى الإسلام ورسوله، والمسلمين، والأخلاق الإسلامية”. 
وهناك عدة مواقع إلكترونية على شبكة الأنترنت بالعربية والإنجليزية، توضح لزائريها، خاصة المبتدئين منهم كيفية اختراق موقع من الألف إلى الياء، حيث يتم الاعتماد على إيجاد ثغرة أمنية يستطيع عبرها المخترق التسلل إلى الموقع والسيطرة عليه ومن ثم يمكنه كتابة ما يريد على صدر الصفحة الأولى أو تعطيله لمدة معينة.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A propaganda war between supporters of Israel and Palestine is being waged on the internet.

By Flora Graham 
BBC News

Israel Palastine flag
Hackers have targeted both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian websites

A propaganda war between supporters of Israel and Palestine is being waged on the internet.

Activists have turned to defacing websites, taking over computers, and shutting down Facebook groups.

US Military sites, Nato, and an Israeli Bank have all been targeted in recent days.

Experts have warned users to be on the lookout for phishing emails and webmasters to ensure their servers are secure.

The hacking of security barriers for political or ideological reasons has been branded by some as hacktivism. And it is thought that as use of the internet grows, so too will the number of attacks.


On 7 January, pro-Palestinian hackers defaced several high-profile websites, including a US Army website, and the Nato Parliamentary Assembly's website.

Calling themselves "Agd_Scorp/Peace Crew", they replaced pages with a white screen showing a person throwing an object at a tank and the Israeli, American and British flags with a red strike through them.

"Stop attacks u israel and usa ! you cursed nations ! one day muslims will clean the world from you!" wrote the hackers.

Dwight Griswold, the Nato Parliamentary Assembly's head of IT, says that the attackers persisted in attempting access for a number of days following the initial attack, adding that the intruders did not gain access to any of the Assembly's internal servers.

 It's clear that it is a result of what happening in Gaza. We see it as part of the war. 
Yoav Keren
Domain The Net

"The fact is that it's always a cat and mouse game. There is no system that is impenetrable."

Hackers also hijacked the domain names of Israeli online news site ynetnews.com and the Israel Discount Bank. They rerouted visitors to a page showing anti-Israel messages with images of prisoners being abused in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Other approaches appealed to a web user's potential loyalties; a website called www.help-israel-win.com asked visitors to download and install a file that was later determined to be a trojan that could allow for remote access to and control of a computer.

The number of attacks has skyrocketed in Israel in the past few months, said Yoav Keren, chief executive of domain name registry Domain The Net.

"It's clear that it is a result of what happening in Gaza," said Mr Keren. "We see it as part of the war."

Israeli Arab and pro-Palestinian sites have also been targeted. Last year, hackers defaced three websites, replacing pages with the Israeli flag and the symbol of the banned far-right group Kach.

Speaking to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the manager of news website Arabs48.com Az-a-Din Badran said his site was "constantly suffering from repeated hack attempts".

Facebook fight

The battle also looms large on social networking site Facebook, where dozens of groups related to the conflict in Gaza have sprung up.

Jewish Internet Defence Force
The JIDF say they do not engage in illegal activity

The clash flared up when a group using the logo of the Jewish Internet Defence Force (JIDF) took control of several of these groups.

They removed content and replaced it with statements supporting Israeli policy and criticising Hamas, and replaced the groups' images with the JIDF logo.

Andrew Silvera, who is active on several pro-Palestinian groups on Facebook, was one of those targeted. He said that his account was hacked after he responded to a Facebook request from another user, inviting him to be an administrator of a similar group.

"As soon as I clicked it I realized there was something wrong with the link. It wasn't like a normal Facebook group.

"As soon as I pressed it, that was it, my account just vanished," he said. "They kidnapped my account."

Mr Silvera tried to contact Facebook about his account, but told BBC News that he had as yet received no reply.

Francesco Paris started a Facebook group criticising the JIDF's alleged behaviour online after he noticed that a group he wanted to join had been affected.

"I noticed that all of the discussion boards had been taken down, the description of the group had been changed to 'closed' and the tagline said something like 'Israel for life'," he told the BBC.

"The picture had a 'Jewish Internet Defence Force' [image], I had no idea what that was."

 We are not hackers 

Jewish Internet Defence Force

After noticing that the content of several other groups had been similarly altered, he started his group.

Mr Paris said that he received Facebook messages that attempted to gather his account login information.

He provided the BBC with a copy of one of these so-called "phishing" emails, which has a link leading to a fake Facebook login page that asks for users login detail.

A spokesperson for the JIDF, who declined to be named, told BBC News that it is an advocacy group that fights anti-Semitism online.

The group would not confirm whether the Facebook groups were shut down by people affiliated with the JIDF.

"We are not hackers. We are also not involved with phishing. We do not break the law for our work," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed out that one of the groups included anti-Semitic cartoons and graphic images of injured and dead people and criticised Facebook for allowing "hateful, anti-Semitic, racist material and material which promotes Islamic terrorism and violence" to remain on the site.

"Despite thousands of our members reporting offensive material, Facebook does not seem to act."

Hacked NATO site
NATO's Parliamentary Assembly site was also targeted

A spokesperson for Facebook said that the firm would not respond to specific alleged incidents, but that they were aware of the phishing attacks.

"We have noticed a couple of instances where a page or a group admin has had their account credentials phished. In such cases, we will reset the passwords on the users' accounts and they should have control again.

"We are just a platform and the discussions that are taking place online are also taking place offline," the Facebook spokesperson added.

"We are not taking sides."

Worse to come

Professor Peter Sommer, a cybercrime expert at the London School of Economics, says that security professionals have come to expect such hacktivism attacks.

 The fear is…'look, if they can do this, what else can they do?' 
Peter Power
Security expert

"It's been going on for at least 10 years. It's a very obvious form of making a protest," he said.

"It's far more attractive than turning up at an airport or outside an embassy and possibly getting arrested, certainly getting cold and possibly bruised in the process."

Social networking sites like Facebook are usually secure "at a fundamental level", he said, but users must take responsibility for their account's security.

"Unfortunately, security at a personal level is relatively hard work and rather tiresome, but there is no feasible alternative."

Peter Power, who sits on the UK Security Review Commission, said that cyberattacks are commonplace, noting a recent attack aimed at bringing down the whole of the UK's internet infrastructure that was stopped at a late stage.

Hacked Facebook group
Hacked Facebook groups had their descriptions and member lists changed

While not as dramatic as such large-scale attacks, simply redirecting a website to a propaganda message also creates a climate of fear.

"When people penetrate websites - and you see it on your screen - it becomes very personal to you. The fear is…'look, if they can do this, what else can they do?'" he said.

Mr Power emphasised that "the UK government is keenly aware of this [threat]" and has set up the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) to protect the country's essential services.

The Nato Parliamentary Assembly's Dwight Griswold admitted that although they are embarrassing, he is not overly concerned about the messages hackers put on his organisation's website.

"My more worrisome threat is if someone breaks in and doesn't leave a big message like that." 

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