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The Washington Post Affected by Syrian Electronic Army Hack (TheWrap / MediaAlley)
The Washington Post and several other media websites were hacked on Thursday — sort of. The popular link referral service Outbrain (which TheWrap also uses) was infiltrated by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), causing its links to go to SEA websites. This was the second major hack by the SEA in the past three days. Though The Washington Post reported that it was hacked, that appears not to be exactly accurate — the SEA provided screenshots of its work to E Hacking News showing that it was actually Outbrain that was compromised. NYT A spokeswoman for Time, Jane Lehman, said the company’s sites were not hacked and the security was not compromised. “The content on some of our sites provided by Outbrain was impacted by the hacking activity at Outbrain,” she said. CNN also said its sites were not directly penetrated. “The security of a vendor plug-in that appeared on CNNi.com was briefly compromised,” it said in a statement. “The issue was quickly identified and plug-in disabled.” The Washington Post / Ask The Post Washington Post managing editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz: “A few days ago, the Syrian Electronic Army, allegedly, subjected Post newsroom employees to a sophisticated phishing attack to gain password information. The attack resulted in one staff writer’s personal Twitter account being used to send out a Syrian Electronic Army message.” HuffPost The SEA has gone after many media organizations, including the Financial Times, Reuters and ITV News. Most notably, it sent out a false tweet from the account of the Associated Press, saying that there had been an attack on the White House. The stock market briefly plummeted before the tweet was confirmed to be fake.
Posts Tagged ‘Outbrain’
The terminology referenced in our headline comes straight from an afternoon Outbrain blog post explaining how the Syrian Electronic Army was able to briefly compromise the websites of the Washington Post, CNN and TIME:
At 10:23am ET, SEA took responsibility for hack of CNN.com, changing a setting through Outbrain’s admin console to label Outbrain recommendations as “Hacked by SEA.”
At 10:34am Outbrain internal staff became aware of the breach.
By 10:40am Outbrain network operations began investigating and decided to shut down all serving systems, degrade gracefully and block all external access to the system…
AOL recently carried a report about Taboola being enlisted by Hearst and TIME to try and help those media companies generate more video-view revenue. They must have liked what they heard, because now AOL has partnered directly with the same company.
Video used to be a small business for AOL but has grown dramatically, primarily via its acquisition of video syndicator 5Min, which AOL bought in 2010. That year AOL did about $10 million in video revenue; last year [CEO Tim] Armstrong said the company was going to do $100 million in video.