Syrian Electronic Army Hackers Hijack New York Times Website

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 07:15 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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The Syrian Electronic Army hijacked the New York Times website on Tuesday in a "malicious" cyber attack that brought down the media giant for the second time in two weeks.

The pro-Syrian hacker group also fiddled with Twitter.com's information on the site Whois.DomainTools.com, a domain name registration database, which resulted in intermittent problems with the social networking site on Tuesday.

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It started with an SEA tweet claiming that the hacker collective was taking over various media organizations.


First, the group appeared to have broken into the domain registry for Twitter.com and changed all the owner information to the Syrian Electronic Army.


Then the Times site blacked out.


"The New York Times website was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon following an attack on the company's domain name registrar, Melbourne IT," the Times said in a statement. "The attack also required employees of The Times to stop sending out sensitive e-mails. The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker collective that supports the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is believed to have attacked the sites or social media accounts of several prominent media organizations."

An unknown person reportedly used a stolen ID and password to hack Melbourne IT's portal and access client domain names, including the Times and Twitter, ABC News reported.  

"We are currently reviewing our logs to see if we can obtain information on the identity of the party that has used the reseller credentials, and we will share this information with the reseller and any relevant law enforcement bodies," Melbourne IT said in a statement. "We will also review additional layers of security that we can add to our reseller accounts."

Twitter was fully restored Tuesday after about two hours but the Times website remained down on Wednesday. The news organization experienced a similar outage Aug. 14, but claimed it was having server problems.

Despite the SEA's online threat, the Huffington Post UK seemed to be functioning normally all day on Tuesday.

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Related stories:

Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Onion's Twitter Account

New York Times Hacked? Apparent Cyberattack Takes Down Website

Hackers seize AP Twitter Account; False Tweet Sends Markets in Brief Plunge  

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