Syrian Hackers Wish a 'Happy Thanksgiving'

Hackers identifying with the Syrian regime hit the websites of British and North American media organizations.

Ben Ariel,

Hackers
Hackers
Reuters

Syrian hackers on Thursday wished a Happy Thanksgiving by hacking the websites of British and North American media organizations and retailer Wal-Mart's Canadian unit.

According to Reuters, the attack was believed to have been carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Among media sites hit were London newspapers the Daily Telegraph, Independent and Evening Standard. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and New York Daily News also said they had fallen victim to the hack.

Users attempting to access certain parts of the attacked websites found a message that read "You've been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)" and were then redirected to the group's logo, an image of an eagle bearing the Syrian flag and a message in Arabic.

The group posted on its Twitter feed, referring to Thursday's U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, "Happy thanks giving, hope you didn't miss us! The press: Please don't pretend #ISIS are civilians. #SEA"

The affected companies said that their systems were safe, noted Reuters.

Walmart Canada said some of its customers received an unusual pop up message, but that no systems were compromised nor customer data exposed.

CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, also said the Syrian hacking group did not gain access to its systems or servers.

A Twitter account affiliated with the Syrian group posted an image on Thursday that appeared to show it accessed the GoDaddy account of gigya.com, a company that helps businesses identify those who visit their websites.

Gigya counts the NFL, NBA and NHL professional sports leagues, and media outlets including the CBC, CBS, NBC, Forbes, CNN, al Jazeera and Fox among its customers. It was not immediately clear how many of them were affected.

Gigya said a breach at its domain registrar, GoDaddy, resulted in traffic to its site being redirected, but that the problem had since been fixed.

GoDaddy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Syrian Electronic Army occasionally carries out hacking attacks in order to disseminate its message of support for the Syrian government.

Last year, the group broke into the Marine Corps recruiting website, redirecting visitors to a screen that called U.S. President Barack Obama "a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue Al-Qaeda insurgents."

The Syrian Electronic Army is believed to be behind an attack on the website of the New York Times. The group also claimed credit for hacking into Twitter's registry account and changing information there.

Previously, the group took control of the Associated Press' official Twitter feed, and sent out a false message about two explosions at the White House and injury to the president.

Several weeks later, the group hacked the Twitter feed of satirical U.S. news website The Onion, posting comments and photos in line with similar intrusions at other news organizations.


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