Syrian Electronic Army Strikes Again With FT Hacks

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Financial Times has blogs and Twitter feeds taken over

The Syrian Electronic Army has compromised yet another media organisation, this time hacking websites and social network accounts belonging to the Financial Times.

Whilst the hacked blog pages have now been cleared of posts, Google News shows how titles had been changed to “Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army” and “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here”:

Syrian Electronic Army FT

Director of FT Labs, Andrew Betts, has his name attached to the blog posts, which would either indicate he had his credentials used to hack the site, or he cleaned the posts.

Syrian Electronic Army at it again

Two of the FT’s Twitter accounts were compromised too, with the hackers posting links and the message: “Do you want to know the reality of the Syrian ‘Rebels?’”

A spokesperson from the FT said: “Today various FT Twitter accounts and one FT blog (not more as previously stated) were compromised by hackers. We have now secured those accounts and are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

They declined to comment on the nature of the attack or offer any more detail.

The SEA, who claim to support the Syrian regime of president al-Assad, has been a prolific hacker of media organisations. It hit AP last month, posting a message claiming explosions at the White House had injured President Barack Obama. That sent the Dow Jones tumbling by over 140 points.

They have also targeted the BBC, the Guardian, NPR, Al-Jazeera and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

“Syria’s cyber conflict has given rise to the SEA as being an actor capable of influencing global politics. The question is, how much more is the SEA capable of?” said Jarno Limnell, director of cyber security for Stonesoft.

“The conclusion to be drawn from the effects of Syria’s cyber conflict is that the use of cyberspace needs to be seen as an integral part of any contemporary and future conflict. What form it does and will take in each situation remains to be seen, but its effects are and will be felt in the physical world too.”

Meanwhile, another news publication, Computer Weekly, claimed its publisher TechTarget was targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, affecting access to the site. “Mostly repelled now, some lingering issues,” the publication told TechWeek over Twitter.

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