Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s domain name registration information was claimed to be hacked by the group known as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). On Wednesday, the group through a Twitter feed claimed the hacking and showed screen shots of Facebook’s domain registry information containing contact addresses in the Syrian capital city of Damascus.
No harm caused to Facebook users
The web attack was not directly targeted against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), but against MarkMonitor, which manages the Facebook’s Internet domain registration. The change displayed was available on the system of MarkMonitor, but the same was not reflected in the database of Verisign, which is the main registrar for the .com top-level domain.
As a result, the incident did not affected the end users as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has installed “registrar locks,” which protect from the changes made to domain names without the manual checks by live humans. Therefore, despite changing some of the information on MarkMonitor’s database, the hackers were unable to affect the traffic on facebook.com.
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The hacking group claimed that it was able to change Facebook’s servers, but had to abandon the process as it was “taking too much time.” Just half an hour after the tweet from SEA, the domain name reverted back to [email protected], suggesting that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and MarkMonitor rectified the error.
Similar attacks on eBay and PayPal
Over the weekend, similar attacks were made against U.K.-based sites of eBay and PayPal. The attacks redirected some of traffic to sites containing the propaganda and image of a Syrian flag, and to the screen shots listing the hacked information from the MarkMonitor database.
Last year, in August, there were talks that the U.S. may join the ongoing Syrian civil war to dethrone Assad from power. At that time, SEA hacked The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and other news entities to prove its mettle. Syrian Electronic Army hacked the domain name registry information of the New York Times, and redirected the traffic to a site containing propaganda in support of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
MarkMonitor, which has been acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2012, has provided domain name registrations for many big tech companies including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The company provides security of digital intellectual property, including brands and trademarks, from fraud and counterfeiting online.