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Pro-Assad Syrian hackers target UK`s Guardian newspaper

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 19:38

London: One of Britain`s leading left-wing newspapers, the Guardian, has reported that its Twitter feeds have been targeted in a cyber attack by Syrian hackers.

The Guardian newspaper said that the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has claimed responsibility for an attack on its Twitter accounts over the weekend, having previously targeted the BBC, France 24 TV, and National Public Radio in the US.

"We are aware that a number of Guardian Twitter accounts have been compromised and we are working actively to resolve this," a Guardian news and media spokesperson said yesterday.

"The Guardian first recognised it was being targeted over the weekend when spoof emails were sent to staff encouraging them to click on links that could compromise some of the company`s email and social media accounts. Later, several of the Guardian`s Twitter feeds - including GuardianBooks, GuardianTravel and guardianfilm - were broken into," the newspaper said in an online report.

Cyber-security experts believe the SEA have targeted a series of western media organisations in an apparent attempt to cause disruption and spread support for President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, which has been under increasing Western pressure to end an ongoing bloody civil war in Syria.

According to the Guardian, nine bogus tweets were broadcast in an hour, including some with anti-Israeli sentiments, and others saying "Long Live Syria", and "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here".

The newspaper`s journalists have reported from inside Syria over the last two years, highlighting the atrocities blamed on the Assad government as it tries to quell the country`s rebellion.

Hours after the cyber-attack began, the SEA said it has targeted the Guardian for spreading "lies and slander about Syria" and said it was in a "state of war with the security team of Twitter".

The technique is regarded as a classic, if crude, "phishing" attack ? where individuals are tricked into giving away details that might allow hackers to gain access to sensitive information or allow them to control systems such as Twitter feeds.

The newspaper has since discovered the attack originated from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses within Syria.

Last week, the SEA successfully attacked the Associated Press news agency, whose Twitter account was temporarily breached, allowing the group to send bogus messages including one saying that US President Barack Obama had been injured in a bomb attack at the White House.


First Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 19:37

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