syrian electronic army

Attack shuts down New York Times’ site

CNN: The New York Times’ website has experienced widespread outages as the apparent result of a malicious attack.

Reports of the site being down appeared on Twitter as early as 3 p.m. ET, with the site not accessible to many desktop users almost three hours later. Some reports indicate difficulty in accessing the Times’ mobile site and apps.

At about 5 p.m. ET, the Times posted on its Facebook page: “Many users are having difficulty accessing The New York Times online. We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is the outage is most likely the result of a malicious external attack.”

The Syrian Electronic Army is widely suspected to be behind the attack.

We Talked to the Syrian Electronic Army About Yesterday’s Hacks of the New York Times and Twitter 

VICE: How did you gain access to the DNS of the companies you targeted? And why did you go after Twitter—aren’t there many people on Twitter against potential US intervention?
Th3Pr0: 
We hit Melbourne IT and gained access to all the company domains, however we attacked Twitter after they closed our account 15 time and we did warned them.

Last time we spoke, you said the Syrian Electronic Army had no contact with the Syrian government. Is that still the case?
We contacted the Syrian government lately to deliver the databases of Viber.com,Tango.com, and TrueCaller.com.

And why would these websites be important to the Syrian government?
Huge numbers of terrorists use Viber and Tango for contacting (communication).

Tell us more about the recent website attacks. They are much more advanced than your previous ones.
We have many types of attacks and we use a certain type depending on the target and how secure it is.

Who do you feel is responsible for the chemical attacks?
Of course the terrorist groups like AlNusra and the FSA, as commanded by the USA to be the means and justification to strike Syria militarily.

What evidence do you have to support your view?
The Syrian army won’t/wouldn’t use chemical weapons, and a military official has stated that this is political suicide. In addition, the fast progress by the Syrian army in Al-Ghouta.

Read the whole interview

The AP’s erroneous tweet about explosions at the White House today, the consequence of their account being hacked, had more effect than simply fear going viral, as demonstrated above — it also caused the Dow Jone Industrial average to plummet over 100 points, only to right itself minutes later when the explanation came out. The Syrian Electronic Army, a group in favor of Syria’s ruling Assad government, has claimed responsibility for the hack via their own Twitter. (Image from Bloomberg) source

Found some more evidence pointing at the Syrian Electronic Army. It seems as though the SEA managed to hack the Marines.com website and so they put up this splash page professing support for U.S. troops who stand against any orders to fight Syria.

The full text of the message reads as follows:

“This is a message written by your brothers in the Syrian Army, who have been fighting al-Qaida for the last 3 years. We understand your patriotism and love for your country so please understand our love for ours. Obama is a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue al- Qaida insurgents.

Marines, please take a look at what your comrades think about Obama’s alliance with al-Qaida against Syria. Your officer in charge probably has no qualms about sending you to die against soldiers just like you, fighting a vile common enemy. The Syrian army should be your ally not your enemy.

Refuse your orders and concentrate on the real reason every soldier joins their military, to defend their homeland. You’re more than welcome to fight alongside our army rather than against it.

Your brothers, the Syrian army soldiers. A message delivered by the SEA”

VICE: What made you decide to hack the Onion this week after spending so much time targeting serious news organizations?
The Shadow: We are well aware of the satirical nature of the Onion, but this does not detract from the fact that the basis of their “humor” was rooted in the narrative promoted by most major corporate media. What convinced us to make our move was an article titled “The Onion Website Joins the U.S. Anti-Syria Club” by Shamus Cooke that details how the Onion can be a more effective wartime propaganda tool than even “serious” and seemingly credible media. The irresponsible promotion of chemical weapons claims and attribution of all the mayhem in Syria on the one side attempting to keep order is very much an assumption of their focus on Syria. This is why the majority of informed people do not find such articles funny.

Why did you accuse the Onion of taking “Zionist money” in exchange for defaming Syria?
We have various tactics when we penetrate a media outlet. For the Onion, we decided to loosely follow their style. We do not seriously suggest any kind of money transfer from unnamed “Zionist” sources, we realize it is more likely that the Onion follows the corporate line as a matter of ideology. During the Second World War, both the Germans and the Americans used satire to attack one another. The Onion serves the same sort of wartime role that the Disney anti-German short films did back then.

What do you think about the Onion’s response?
Many readers found it in poor taste. One Twitter user responded with a simple “yikes.” This reaction was exactly what we were hoping for, as the writer placed all their anger in it, dropping the mask of the real situation in Syria. The rebels were depicted in the exact same manner as reality, so it cannot really be classified as satire except with one difference—the Syrian army will win and we don’t have a “base” that can be attacked.

—We spoke to an alleged member of the Syrian Electronic Army about hacking The Onion’s Twitter. Full interview

The New York Times Web site was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon after an online attack on the company’s domain name registrar. The attack also forced employees of The Times to take care in sending e-mails.

Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company, issued a statement at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday warning employees that the disruption — which appeared to be affecting the Web site well into the evening — was “the result of a malicious external attack.” He advised employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”

In an interview, Mr. Frons said the attack was carried out by a group known as “the Syrian Electronic Army, or someone trying very hard to be them.” The group attacked the company’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT. The Web site first went down after 3 p.m.; once service was restored, the hackers quickly disrupted the site again. Shortly after 6 p.m., Mr. Frons said that “we believe that we are on the road to fixing the problem.”

The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Matt Johansen, head of the Threat Research Center at White Hat Security, posted on Twitter that he was directed to a Syrian Web domain when he tried to view The Times’s Web site.

Until now, The Times has been spared from being hacked by the S.E.A., but on Aug. 15, the group attacked The Washington Post’s Web site through a third-party service provided by a company called Outbrain. At the time, the S.E.A. also tried to hack CNN.

So I got one of those SEA submits.

Yeah. Not incredibly happy about it. But I have no idea what to do about it, either, really.

For any who don’t know, the SEA is the Syrian Electronic Army. They’re a pro-Bashar al Assad group of hackers, and have the approval of the Syrian regime. They took down the New York Times’ website for several hours on 27 August 2013. They’ve released some statement regarding a potential attack on the US military’s website/network (apparently). The FBI added them to the most wanted list, collectively, about five or so hours ago now. Hacktivist collective Anonymous has also taken up against them - dunno how that’s going, but I await the results. And now they’re doing lip service rounds about a potential attack on social media websites.

Frankly I’m just annoyed that I had to watch their stupid video three times just to understand what he was saying because the audio distortion they put on it fucked with my hearing.

There’s a way to be dramatically threatening and EFFECTIVE, guys, and that is not how it is done. I can’t be terrified or suspicious or whatever if I can’t UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE THREATENING ME. Like, seriously.

B- for effort. D+ for execution.

The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, on Monday seized control of an online tool used by an advocacy organization for U.S. President Barack Obama to redirect links sent from his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The link shortener used by Organizing for Action, a group that evolved from Obama’s re-election campaign, was briefly hacked, an official from the group said. Link shorteners abbreviate Web links so they take up less space in a tweet, which is limited to 140 characters.

Obama’s Facebook and Twitter pages carried links that were intended to take readers to a Washington Post story on immigration - but as a result of the hack, redirected readers to a video of the Syrian conflict instead.

However, Obama’s Twitter account itself was not hacked, Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said.

Obama rarely writes his own tweets from the @BarackObama Twitter handle, which is run by the Organizing for Action staff. However, when he does, they are signed with his initials.

The Syrian Electronic Army tweeted, “We accessed many Obama campaign emails (sic) accounts to assess his terrorism capabilities. They are quite high.” It showed what appeared to be the Google email account of an Organizing for Action staffer.

The Syrian Electronic Army has undertaken several high-profile hacking attempts in the United States. In September it appeared to have struck a recruiting website for the U.S. Marine Corps, and the FBI that month also warned that the group might intensify its internet attacks as the United States weighed a military strike against Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government against its people.

The group has also targeted the New York Times’ website and Twitter.

Syria has been locked in a civil war dating to March 2011, which appears to be in a stalemate for now. The conflict grew out of an uprising against four decades of Assad family rule, pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against a president, Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.