Tags: Syria | marine | website | hacked | assad

Marine Website Latest Target of Assad Supporters

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 04:32 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The Syrian Electronic Army is continuing to push its pro-Assad agenda by hi-jacking the U.S. Marine Corps recruitment website (www.marines.com) and posting a plea for Marines to reject Obama’s leadership and any fight with the Damascus government, the International Business Times reported.

In a message from "your brothers in the Syrian Army," the SEA said, "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.

"The Syrian army should be your ally not your enemy," continued the message. "Refuse your orders and concentrate on the real reason every soldier joins their military, to defend their homeland.”

This was the most recent of numerous cyber-attacks by the SEA, which announced itself in September 2011 when it took over Harvard University’s website, the Guardian said. The group’s name came from that hack, which said, “SyRiAn ELeCTronic ArMy WeRe HeRE.”

Subsequent attacks targeted organizations that SEA said were reporting events in Syria inaccurately. The Guardian laid out a timeline of 22 attacks, including organizations as varied as the BBC and the Turkish Ministry of Information.

In a statement, the Marine Corps said the website was not hacked, but visitors were instead directed to another site that contained the message, the Wall Street Journal said. Included along with the message were pictures supposedly of U.S. soldiers blocking their faces with various hand-written messages that indicated they wouldn’t fight for al-Qaida. Many claim that the rebels in Syria are backed by the very group that the United States has been fighting since 9/11.

BBC News interviewed the SEA by email after the British Parliament voted last week to stay out of any Syria conflict, and the organization said then, "Our main mission is to spread truth about Syria and what is really happening."

Most of the initial cyber-attacks were focused on social media accounts such as when it hacked the Associated Press’s Twitter account and posted a "story" saying President Barack Obama was hurt. Another attack on the New York Times website redirected visitors to the SEA site to deliver an anti-war message, but the group’s server "couldn’t last for three minutes," SEA told BBC.

The U.S. military was in the process of upping security on its websites when the Marine Corps’ domain name was hijacked, reported Nextgov, a federal technology publication.

In an August notice looking for engineers to "harden" the domain name system, the Defense Information Systems Agency said, "Potential risks to the Department of Defense DNS infrastructure such as hackers, phishing scams or distributed denial of service attacks meant to covertly extract data require [Defense] to develop plans to improve monitoring and management of the DoD DNS, and protect it from any external vulnerabilities."

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