The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) confirmed that its website was hacked Thursday by a group of Syrian hackers. The hacker group, which calls itself the Syrian Electronic Army, supports Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. According to Paul Farhi and Hayley Tsukayama of The Washington Post, the hackers infiltrated its website, and the intrusion lasted for about 30 minutes. The Syrian Electronic Army has attacked the websites of a number of American media outlets over the past few months.
Washington Post faced a phishing attack before hacking
After hacking The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) website, the infiltrators inserted commands that would redirect website visitors to the pro-Assad group’s website, which is in Arabic. The Washington Post’s managing editor-digital, Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, said that the Post has taken defensive measures, and there are no problems now. But the intrusion affected several international news stories, she added.
The hacking incident happened a few days after an unidentified source attempted a phishing attack at The Washington Post. The phishing attack was aimed at securing log in details and passwords of The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) journalists. The unidentified source blasted emails to the mailboxes of the Post journalists. The email appeared like it was from another Washington Post colleague, asking them to click a link and provide log in details. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz believes that the phishing attack was also conducted by the Syrian Electronic Army.
Syrian Electronic Army claims hacking
The Syrian Electronic Army claimed Thursday morning in a tweet that it also hacked websites of CNN, The Post and Time magazine. The tweet is about SEA’s attack on Outbrain service, a business partner of the above three media outlets. Outbrain recommends to users content from around the web that might interest them. Outbrain also said in a tweet that it has shut down its website temporarily due to a cyber attack.
The Syrian Electronic Army has hacked Twitter feeds of BBC, Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press in the past. The SEA has a long history of vandalization.
Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) shares were down 1.59% to $574.47 at 1:54 PM EDT.