Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

Venezuela: Cyberactivist Luis Carlos Díaz harassed and threatened by “hackers”

For the second time in only four months, Venezuelan journalist and cyberactivist Luis Carlos Díaz is being harassed through his Twitter account and his mobile phone, by a so-called group of  “hackers”, who act under the name of N33, and would be the same group of people that in previous months have hacked into the Twitter and e-mail accounts of about thirty different Venezuelan personalities, including journalists Sebastiana Barráez, Ibéyise Pacheco, political humorist Laureano Márquez, activist Rocío San Miguel and writer Leonardo Padrón, amongst many others. This group is integrated by anonymous people who declare themselves supporters of President Hugo Chávez.
Last December, several of these personalities issued a communication [es] addressing the Presidents who were at Caracas attending the CELAC Summit held by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez:

Las cuentas de venezolanos con visiones críticas ante las políticas del gobierno, ubicados en distintos campos como el periodismo, la economía, la vida universitaria, los derechos humanos, la cultura y la justicia, entre otros, han sido “hackeadas” por individuos que asumen esa tarea agresora como un mecanismo de defensa del proceso político impulsado por el presidente Hugo Chávez.

The accounts of Venezuelans who have critical views of the government's politics, coming from different areas like journalism, economics, university life, human rights, culture and justice, among others, have been “hacked” by individuals who assume this aggressor task as a defense mechanism for the political process led by President Hugo Chávez.

Iria Puyosa (@NSC) tweeted a screen capture of the Twitter account from where the menaces are coming:

Tweets say: What I want you is to answer [the phone] @LuisCarlos, do you dare? Paraco [paramilitary] is your [whore] mother @luisfcocabezas @luiscarlos Answer [the phone] @LuisCarlos, I'm calling you… You're null @LuisCarlos and you're a Pirate… financed by Church, by pirate on the sense of a cheap copy of something that's original Your article is basic @LuisCarlos, coming from a so-called expert in informatic security. You're null and you're going Down

Tweets say: “What I want you is to answer [the phone] @LuisCarlos, do you dare?”, “Paraco [paramilitary] is your [whore] mother @luisfcocabezas @luiscarlos”, “Answer [the phone] @LuisCarlos, I'm calling you…”, “You're null @LuisCarlos and you're a Pirate… financed by Church, by pirate on the sense of a cheap copy of something that's original”, “Your article is basic @LuisCarlos, coming from a so-called expert in informatic security. You're null and you're going Down”

Díaz, besides being a human rights activist and GV contributor, also works as Coordinator of the Communication and Networks of the Gumilla Center, a center for research and social action led by the Society of Jesus in Venezuela.

 

On Twitter, users have pronounced against the harassment suffered by Luis Carlos:

@Jogreg: @N33DOS està acosando telefonicamente al pana @LuisCarlos. Ya basta!

@N33DOS is harassing my friend @LuisCarlos by phone. Enough!

@NSC: Parapolicías le ofrecen “trato VIP” a @LuisCarlos http://bit.ly/x9jvIL Si se equivocan x allí la respuesta también será VIP y global.

Para-policemen offer @LuisCarlos “VIP treatment”. http://bit.ly/x9jvIL If they go wrong that way the response will also be VIP and global.

@acianela: El inaceptable acoso a @LuisCarlos RT @IPYS Venezuela: Periodista y ciberactivista es amenazado telefónicamente

The unacceptable harassment against @LuisCarlos RT @IPYS Venezuela: Journalist and cyberactivist is harassed by phone.

Luis Carlos Díaz had written about this escalade before. In this article [es], from September 2011, he says:

La acción dejó de ser una travesura cuando el grupo N33 emitió un comunicado, leído en el canal del Estado, VTV, en el que “aclaraban” que accionaron por razones políticas en contra de cuentas que criticaban al presidente de la República y por lo tanto cualquier opositor con visibilidad mediática estaría en la mira.

The action stopped being a mischief when the group N33 issued a statement, which was read in the State channel, VTV, where they “cleared up” that they were acting by political reasons against account that criticized the President and therefore any opponent with media visibility would be targeted.

It's been stated that the group, even when they call themselves “hackers”, should not be considered this way, since they apparently obtained the first sets of password using techniques such as social engineering and by mere guessing passwords that were weak to begin with. However, since they have taken over the account of a recognized Venezuelan “white hat” hacker RaFa Núñez, it's now being suspected that they might be acting under the collaboration of a Venezuelan government-owned ISP.
In a public message [es] that has been replicated across different Venezuelan blogs, Luis Carlos has said:

Nos enfrentamos a una nueva forma de ciberguerra más focalizada, de desactivar individuos sin mancharse mucho las manos, de afectar la libertad de expresión en Internet y acabar con las críticas gubernamentales. Este es una suerte de paramilitarismo digital, en el cual se buscan personas externas, e incluso espontáneos, para que eliminen gente en redes sociales.

We are facing a new class of cyberwar, more focalised, of deactivating individuals without staining much their hands, of affecting freedom of speech on Internet and ending critiques against government. This is a sort of digital paramilitarism, in which they seek outsiders, and even spontaneous ones, to eliminate people in social networks.

12 comments

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.