Syrian hackers break into the Financial Times

The website and several Twitter accounts belonging to The Financial Times were hacked Friday by the Syrian Electronic Army in a continuing campaign that has aimed at an array of media outlets ranging from The Associated Press to the parody site The Onion,according to a claim by the so-called army.

Written by New York Times | New York | Published: May 18, 2013 3:52 am

Nicole Perlroth

The website and several Twitter accounts belonging to The Financial Times were hacked Friday by the Syrian Electronic Army in a continuing campaign that has aimed at an array of media outlets ranging from The Associated Press to the parody site The Onion,according to a claim by the so-called army.

The Syrian Electronic Army said it seized control of several FT Twitter accounts and amended a number of the site’s blog posts with the headline “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army”. Hackers used their access to the FT’s Twitter feed to post messages,including one that said,“Syrian Electronic Army Was Here”,and another that linked to a YouTube video of an execution. Both messages were quickly removed.

The FT confirmed that it had been hacked through its Twitter feed,telling Twitter followers: “Various FT blogs and social media accounts have been compromised by hackers and we are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

The attack follows dozens of other Syrian Electronic Army attacks on the social media accounts of news outlets including The Guardian,the BBC,NPR,Reuters and The Associated Press.

In the AP attack,the group used its access to the agency’s Twitter feed to plant a false story about explosions at the White House that sent the stock market into temporary free fall.

Researchers who have been conducting digital forensics on these attacks say they are done through so-called spearphishing,in which attackers send e-mails that contain a link to a fake news article to employees at their target organization.

Once clicked,the link redirects employees to a fake Google or Microsoft mail site that asks the employee for their user name and password.

The hackers then use that information to get inside employees’ inboxes,where they can send more e-mails to employees who have access to the organization’s social media accounts,then use that access to reset the organization’s password to their Twitter account.

Meanwhile,the Syrian Electronic Army itself became a hacking target this week. Anonymous,the loose hacking collective,took the group’s website offline in a type of digital attack called a distributed denial of service,or DDoS,in which they flood the site with traffic until it collapses under the load.

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