A Lebanese hacking group calling themselves RYV (Raise Your Voice) has hacked 16 Lebanese governmental websites, in its attempt to show disdain to the situation in the country. Similarly to the international hackers who call themselves Anonymous, the Lebanese group targeted supposedly important websites. They also have their Facebook and Twitter profiles, because being part of social media is what counts these days.
They left a note on the websites they hacked, which until the time of the writing of this post have yet to be fixed:
To our dear “beloved” Lebanese Government,
We are RYV, short for Raise Your Voice, and we are simply a group of people who could not bare sitting in silence, watching all the crimes and injustice going on in Lebanon. We will not be silenced and brainwashed by your media. We will not stop until the Lebanese people mobilize, demand their rights, and earn them. We will not stop until the standards of living are raised to where they should be in Lebanon. We will not stop until this government’s self-made problems are solved, like the power shortage, water shortage, rise in gas prices and rise in food product prices. We are RYV, expect us to break the silence, whether in the streets or on the Internet.Silence is a crime.
For a list of the websites that got hacked, you can go to this link.
And it is here that I have to ask: is there really a point behind this than to make the group that did the attacks known?
I don’t think there is. Here’s why.
1) Governmental websites in Lebanon are rarely visited by people. Their effect on every day life is negligeable. I even doubt the ministers visit their own ministry’s website. As a testament to this, I, a fairly connected person, had no idea 95% of these websites even existed. Significant they are, indeed.
2) I’m fairly certain more people have attempted to visit these websites in the past 16 hours than through the entirety of their existence. Again, attacking websites people don’t care about will raise awareness how?
3) How do RYV hope attacking a meaningless governmental website that’s rarely visited going to change things? For instance, has a statement been made by blacking out the ministry of electricity’s website? Do people don’t know we don’t get electricity? Are we not nagging enough about it? How is pointing out the obvious asking for people to stand up to their rights?
4) The term activism is used so loosely it has become the prostitute of terms in Lebanon. I am not an activist. Most bloggers who think they are activists are not. And neither are RYV. Targeting websites that no one cares about, regardless of how *awesome* it seems, will not change things. It is borderline irrelevant.
Regardless of what you think of this government, or any other government, our problems as a country are way worse than something which can be fixed by a simplistic manifesto on a website asking people to stand up to their rights. Non-existant are those in Lebanon who don’t want cheap gas prices, 24/7 grid connection to water, electricity, super-fast internet, etc. But these things are not fixed by hacking websites to raise awareness, which is already there.
Either way, let them have their fifteen minutes of fame. And let some Lebanese be fascinated by them. What will change tomorrow or next Tuesday or the Tuesday after that? Yes, you guessed it… nothing.