The Syrian Electronic Army may be responsible for Tuesday’s hacking attack on The New York Times and Twitter. The sites are just the latest U.S. media companies targeted by hackers. Earlier this month The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) and Outbrain were targeted.
Syrian Electronic Army suspected in attacks
Stephen Shankland of CNET reports that at one point during the hack on Twitter, the whois record for Twitter listed the owner of the site’s email address as email@example.com. This would seem to suggest that the Syrian Electronic Army was indeed responsible for the attack.
On Tuesday The New York Times issued a statement saying that their website problems were “most likely the result of a malicious external attack.” According to Gawker, during the outage the newspaper’s website also pointed to a domain run by the Syrian Electronic Army. The newspaper itself also reported that the hackers changed their DNS registration by hacking Melbourne IT, their registrar. According to Gawker, this is the same registrar used by Twitter.
The New York Times advised its employees not to send sensitive emails during the attack.
U.S. tensions with Syria increase
So who are the members of the Syrian Electronic Army hacking collective? They are supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, although not much is known about them. Of course the U.S. is considering military action against Syria in the wake of last week’s deadly chemical weapons attack.
The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is weighing action that would not oust President Basahr al-Assad, but rather would “deter and degrade” his administration’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future. The newspaper’s sources said the actions that are being considered are limited and may only last one or two days.
Some options may include the launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. destroyers deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. However, those missiles would not be launched at chemical weapons storage areas because that would risk a major catastrophe. Instead, they would be aimed at military units which carried out the chemical attacks.