Those who’ve been following this blog for some time will know that it’s been subject to various forms of sabotage, hacking and general nuisance attacks. There was a DDOS attack and a hack which vandalized the site. An Israeli attempted to hack my Paypal account causing it to be temporarily frozen, and there have been numerous attempts to hack my Twitter account. A leading Israeli expert on missile engineering, Tal Inbar, even led an attempt to get Facebook to suspend my account.
All of this becomes especially relevant in light of the recent admission by the Israeli minister for strategic affairs that he was mounting a black ops campaign against “de-legitimizing” NGOs and their supporters. Thankfully, while I’ve endured death threats, they haven’t been of the seriousness and magnitude that Nada Kiswanson has suffered.
Years ago, before I became innured to this sort of thing, someone in California wrote that he was on his way to kill me. I naively called the Seattle Police Department to report the death threat. The commander actually told me he wouldn’t investigate the threat unless the would-be killer crossed the Washington State line. At that point, I knew I was on my own.
Which leads me to today’s post: after my website was hacked by Semion Kras, an employee of IBM Israel, I moved my site to WPEngine, which offered managed hosting and a higher level of security. Since then, there have been no known attacks on the site. At least not ones I was aware of. But WPEngine had one serious drawback. It cost well north of $1,000 annually, an astronomical sum, unless your site has been hacked. Then it’s a bargain (almost). I endured the cost in return for the benefit of putting the anxieties of cyber security on someone else’s shoulders.
After Israel’s cyber crimes chief, Haim Vismonsky and Twitter collaborated on censoring my tweets about Judge Shamai Becker and accusations of incest and child rape against him, I worked closely with Electronic Frontier Foundation, which offered me information about social media censorship around the world. Glenn Greenwald just added an important story on that subject yesterday. In the course of exploring a new web host and issues of cyber security, I discovered that EFF was recommending a new service for websites under threat. It’s called Deflect and it offers two levels of protection. It offers DNS servers to protect the “front-end” of a website and web hosting to protect the “back-end.” These are two points of vulnerability from which attackers may launch assaults.
For those of us who penetrate the veil of secrecy surrounding the national security state, we stand largely exposed to the world. Until the past few years, unless you were Edward Snowden, you had very few means of protecting yourself, your e mail, and your websites. I’m delighted that new products are coming online which offer greater protection and can be implemented by those with modest technical skills. At last, it feels like there are those willing to support and protect us.
Aside from this wonderful service to protect vulnerable sites on the web, which in turn protects democracy around the world, the best thing about Deflect is that it’s free! Of course, there is a cost, but it’s borne by the wonderful foundations and donors who understand the importance of what Deflect is and does. I know I do.
Deflect is one of a handful of products which enhance digital security, which are created by Equalit.ie. Its website describes it mission to:
Develop open and reusable systems with a focus on privacy, online security, and information management. Our goal is to create accessible technology and improve the skill set needed for defending human rights and freedoms in the digital age.
This site is now hosted by Deflect, and proudly so. For those of you who posted comments in the past 24 hours or so, alas they are gone. Feel free to repost if you can. I apologize for that inconvenience. If you notice anything about the site that doesn’t appear right or work right, please let me know. You probably won’t notice much that is physically different about the site’s externals. But the internals are more fully secure from the prying eyes of those out to cause mischief or worse.
Finally, I’m proud to announce that Rowman & Littlefield has published a new essay collection about alternatives to the two-state solution: Israel and Palestine: Alternative Perspectives on Statehood. The editors, Yoav Peled and John Ehrenberg asked me to write an essay for the book, which I did. If you patronize your local and college library, you might recommend that they purchase it. Eventually, I will post a pdf of my chapter for you to read. But it’s not yet available.