Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis hack e-mail and Facebook accounts of anti-racist activists and candidates
Approximately 10 racist images, texts, and videos were posted today by neo-Nazis onto the Facebook profile of the Změna ("Change") movement, which is running in the parliamentary elections. The attack was just the latest in a series committed by racists on the e-mail accounts and Facebook profiles of groups and individuals who have long protested against neo-Nazism and racism in the Czech Republic.
The e-mail and Facebook accounts of journalist Saša Uhlová, the news server Deník referendum, Amnesty International Brno, the "Let's Block the Marches!" (Blokujeme!) platform and the "Nothing But Opinions" (Nic než názor) group were all hacked. Most people have regained control over their e-mail accounts and Facebook profiles by now.
While racists are no longer able to post material to the Facebook profile of the Změna movement, those managing the profile will reportedly not be able to regain control of it until Friday, leader Jan Korytář told the Czech News Agency. "This is unpleasant, but whoever knows us knows these aren't our opinions," he said of the material posted by the hackers.
The defamatory material rails against Romani people and the presence of blacks and Muslims in Europe. Korytář says he is communicating with Facebook's head office in Dublin regarding fixing the damage and the racist links should disappear from the movement's profile today.
Hackers gained access to the profile by breaking into the e-mail account of a Změna sympathizer, Miloslav Hudec. "He is very engaged against racism," Korytář said when asked why Hudec would be monitored by various right-wing extremist organizations.
Změna has three profiles on Facebook. The one that was hacked represented the movement in the Liberec Region.
Former Czech presidential candidate Táňa Fischerová is running for office with the movement but is not expected to receive many votes. Změna's aim is to exceed the 5 % threshold to gain a seat in the lower house, but they have said they would also consider it a success to win 3 % of the electorate.
It is clear who is to blame for the neo-Nazi hacking, namely, the racists involved with the website White Media. The ultra-right extremists are calling this current wave of attacks their "Week against Anti-Racism", which is supposed to last until 6 October.
In most of the attacks, the neo-Nazis have placed links to the White Media website on the attacked Facebook profiles. That website, for example, features the opinion that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik is a hero.
How to protect your Facebook and Gmail
Daniel Dočekal of news server Lupa.cz, which reports on the Czech internet, says this most recent case of the attack on Saša Uhlová illustrates the fact that very few people protect their Facebook accounts with strong passwords. "Even fewer protect them with two-phase (two-factor) authorization even though that is very easy and effective," Dočekal wrote on Lupa.cz.
It is also possible to set up verification by receiving an SMS text message on a mobile device for Gmail. In addition to activating one's protection through that method, Dočekal says it is important to follow several important rules for online behavior.
For example, if you are logging in to your accounts through a computer you cannot completely trust, you should never choose the option of remaining connected to those accounts while browsing other pages, which means it is important to log out of your e-mail and Facebook when you stop using them. It is also very important to set up strong passwords and you should also definitely never save your passwords in the browser.
"Your passwords should be long, but they mainly should combine letters, numbers, and ideally some sort of symbol such as an underscore. It's even better if you make use of both lower-case and upper-case letters, provided you can remember the password (it could be, for example, something like "Mix_3478a" - that would give you a decent amount of assurance no one will be able to break it using a so-called 'dictionary' hack)," Dočekal writes on Lupa.cz.
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