How Moammar Gadhafi’s regime built a surveillance network called the Electric Army that captured all Internet traffic going in and out of Libya, and how dissidents fought back.

Gwaider’s favored method, like that of Kevin Mitnick, the famous American hacker he admired, was “social engineering,” which meant tricking the victims into giving up access themselves. In Tawati’s case, all he had to do was send her a Word document infected with a Trojan, which installed malware on her computer when she opened it. At that point he had access to everything, including her Facebook account and her supposedly encrypted Skype conversations, which Gwaider siphoned off with malware that recorded all the audio on her machine. All of it eventually got posted to the Internet in an effort to smear her. The hacker even stole photos showing her without a head scarf—rather embarrassing in Libya’s conservative culture—and regime supporters then posted these to Facebook. Hala Misrati, the TV presenter who previously had broadcast some of her emails, now played audio from a Skype conversation she had with a foreign journalist, trumpeting it as proof of her collusion with outside forces. Tawati was devastated.

“Jamming Tripoli: Inside Moammar Gadhafi’s Secret Surveillance Network.” — Matthieu Aikins, Wired

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