Syrian Electronic Army alters data on news sites, Twitter

Victor Barreiro Jr.
At least three sites were reportedly hit by the Syrian Electronic Army, having their registry account details and DNS records changed

SYRIAN ELECTRONIC ARMY. The Syrian electronic Army has reportedly altered the WHOIS and DNS data for a number of sites.

MANILA, Philippines – At least three websites – Twitter, The New York Times, and Huffington Post UK – have reportedly had their registry account details and DNS records altered.

The name servers, the computer servers that help create recognizable identifiers for the numeric IP addresses of websites, of The New York Times was first hit. This was apparently followed by an attack on Twitter.

On Twitter, Matthew Keys noted that the name servers for The New York Times are now pointing to SEA. The name server change appears to have caused an outage for the site, as well as the apps of The New York Times.


Twitter appeared to be less affected, though it has said that it is looking into the claims that the Syrian Electronic Army compromised the service.

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy made the announcement on Twitter, two weeks after the site went offline due to what the daily said was an internal server problem.

Her full tweet said: “re: http://nytimes.com – initial assessment – issue is most likely result of malicious external attack. working to fix.”

The newspaper’s main Twitter account said shortly after 2000 GMT that the website “is experiencing technical difficulties” but that news was still being published via Twitter and other links.

Matt Johansen of WhiteHat Security said in a tweet that the technical aspects of the website during the outage were “pointing to Syrian Electronic Army.”

This is despite a tweet from the Syrian Electronic Army stating that Twitter’s domain is now “owned” by them.


The Next Web adds that Huffington Post UK has also apparently had its DNS records changed.

The Washington Post website was hacked this month in an attack blamed on the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that backs embattled strongman Bashar al-Assad.

The Times said in January that hackers stole its corporate passwords and accessed the personal computers of 53 employees after the newspaper published a report on the family fortune of China’s Premier Wen Jiabao. – With reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.