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Posts Tagged ‘Syrian Electronic Army’

Morning Media Newsfeed: Polk Awards Announced | Interview Upsets Skiier | Forbes.com Hacked

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Journalists Who Broke NSA Story Receive George Polk Awards (The Guardian)
The three journalists who broke the National Security Agency revelations from Edward Snowden in The Guardian are among the recipients of the prestigious 2013 George Polk Awards in Journalism. Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras will receive the award for national security reporting, along with Barton Gellman of The Washington Post. Janine Gibson, Guardian U.S. editor-in-chief, said: “We’re honored by the recognition from the Polk awards and delighted for Ewen, Glenn, Laura, Barton and their colleagues that their work has been recognized. NYT In all, 30 reporters representing 15 news organizations were recognized in 13 categories. Reporters from The New York Times won three of the awards, as did reporters from the Post. “In the tradition of George Polk, many of the journalists we have recognized did more than report news,” said John Darnton, the curator of the Polk Awards, referring to the CBS News correspondent who was killed while covering the civil war in Greece in 1948. FoxNews.com The award for political reporting will go to Rosalind Helderman, Laura Vozzella and Carol Leonnig of the Post for reporting on the relationship between former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and a wealthy entrepreneur. Their stories spurred a federal investigation that resulted in a 14-count indictment of McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. Politico / AP Columnist, author and editor Pete Hamill will be honored with the George Polk Career Award, which is named in memory of Professor Robert D. Spector, chair of the George Polk Awards for 32 years until his death in 2009.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NYT Back Online | Twitter Buys Trendrr | Gannett Cuts 200 Jobs


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New York Times Website Back up After Cyberattack (USA Today)
The New York Times‘ website was back in business Wednesday, a day after it was hacked by what appears to be the Syrian Electronic Army. “The situation is close to being fully resolved,” said Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy, in a statement. LA Times The take-down of the Times‘ website for nearly two days this week exposed how easily computer hackers can exploit the Internet’s Achilles’ heel. As the website was being restored Wednesday, the tech industry scurried to assess the high-profile cyberattack and weigh what measures could be taken to prevent a similar breach. The Washington Post These attacks, which continued to effect some users of the Times and Twitter well into Wednesday, may have such long-lasting effects for two reasons, said Kenneth Geers, a senior global threat researcher at the security firm FireEye. For one, it takes a while for DNS information to move throughout the network — which could explain why some, but not all, users had trouble with the sites under attack. Geers also said that those in charge of security for the Times and Twitter may not have expected this kind of attack, and were caught unaware. “Some networks may never be the same” after this kind of attack, he said. Bloomberg Chalk one up for Twitter Inc. While The New York Times and Google Inc. had visitors to their sites redirected this week by hackers, the microblogging service was better able to deflect attacks because of a simple tool called a registry lock.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NYT Site Under Siege | Kurtz Column Slammed | AllThingsD Moving On


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New York Times Site Is Disrupted in Attack by Hackers (NYT)
The New York Times‘ website was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon after an online attack on the company’s domain name registrar. The attack also forced employees of the Times to take care in sending emails. The hacking was just the latest of a major media organization, with The Financial Times and The Washington Post also having their operations disrupted within the last few months. It was also the second time in August that the website of The New York Times was unavailable for several hours. The Atlantic Wire The attackers have been acknowledged by the Times to be the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a roguish collective sympathetic to the regime of Bashar al-Assad. TechCrunch Once the SEA had gained access to registry records, it was able to change both contact details and domain name servers. Now, the SEA is claiming access to a variety of international Twitter domains. A Twitter representative told TechCrunch that the company was “looking into” the possibility that the SEA had changed DNS records. The Next Web Statements to The Next Web from Melbourne IT explain that the SEA was able to enter its IT system by using a reseller’s username and password. Once inside Melbourne IT’s system, the group had access to a range of data and information. It presumably knew exactly what it was looking for and proceeded to change the DNS records of “several domain names,” Melbourne IT says, one of which was nytimes.com. FishbowlNY About two weeks ago, NYTimes.com went dark due to what a spokesperson called “a scheduled maintenance update.”

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NYTimes.com Attacked by Syrian Electronic Army

The New York Times’ website outage is believed to be the result of an attack by the Syrian Electronic Army or “someone trying very hard to be them,” according to Marc Frons, the company’s chief information officer. The SEA has a history of attacking news sites, from The Washington Post’s to The Financial Times’.

The SEA’s official Twitter account is indeed claiming credit for the Times attack:

NYTimes.com went dark for almost three hours today, but is now functioning normally. No word yet on if users had their information compromised.

Morning Media Newsfeed: SEA Hits WaPo, Others | Audit: NSA Broke Rules | Bustle Founder Responds


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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.

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Phishing Expedition Forces Outbrain to ‘Degrade Gracefully’ from WaPo, TIME, CNN

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…

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New York Post Social Media Accounts Briefly Hacked

So how does the Syrian Electronic Army do it? The latest victims of the group’s social-media hacking ways, per a report on computerworlduk.com, were the New York Post‘s Facebook page, several individual newspaper reporter Twitter feeds and the Facebook/Twitter pages of social media management company SocialFlow.

Order at both ends has been restored after the Tuesday breaches; the connection here is that the Post uses SocialFlow’s dashboard to manage its accounts. Computer security expert Graham Cluley suggests that the Army relied on their same old tricks:

Chances are that Post and SocialFlow fell victim to the Syrian Electronic Army via the group’s normal method of attack – emailing staff at one media organization with a forged “sent” address in the email header, linking to what claims to be a breaking news story that the recipient should check out. Clicking on the link then takes users to a phishing site where passwords are stolen.

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