Pro-Assad regime hackers claim to have targeted leading US media websites, shutting down the New York Times for 30 minutes.
The Syrian Electronic Army said it had hacked sites belonging to Twitter and the Huffington Post, making them unstable, as well as closing down the NYT.
he Syrian Electronic Army has claimed access to a number of Twitter’s international domains shortly after bringing down the New York Times’ website. The attack was apparently made through Melbourne IT.
The SEA managed to alter both contact details and domain name servers of the New York Times and Twitter after reportedly having gained access to their registry records in Melbourne IT. The SEA also claimed responsibility for hacking the Huffington Post UK domain.
As a result of the attack the New York Times’ website has been disabled for the second time in under a month. The newspaper attributed the outage to a “malicious external attack” widely thought to have come from hackers affiliated with the Syrian Electronic Army.
“Many users are having difficulty accessing the New York Times online,” the paper wrote on its Facebook page. “We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is the outage is most likely the result of a malicious external attack. In the meantime we are continuing to publish key news reports.”
The SEA also claimed in a series of tweets that it hijacked several domains for Twitter, redirected the social media traffic to its own server, rendering the site unstable.
Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser confirmed to journalist Matthew Keys that site technicians are “looking into claims” from the SEA.
The shadowy hacker collective has also claimed to have changed domain details belonging to the Huffington Post news site.
The latest attacks come weeks after the Twitter feed of the Associated Press news agency was targeted.
The feed falsely reported that Barack Obama was injured in an attack on the White House.
The Washington Post website was also hacked this month in an attack blamed on the same group.
The SEA infiltrates organisations it perceives to be aligned against the Assad government.
The string of cyber attacks comes as US leaders have publicly discussed the possibility of launching an attack against the Assad government.
The potential for military action comes amid claims Mr Assad deployed chemical weapons on the Syrian people, two years into the nation’s civil war.