Syrian Hacker Group Takes Control of NYT, Twitter
August 28, 2013 8:15 AM
comment(s) - last by
Both domains have been restored and protected
A Syrian hacker group temporarily took over the websites of media companies like The New York Times and Twitter as a response to the U.S.' recent consideration of military action
against the Syrian government
The attacks were launched by The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), which openly took credit for the hacks. The group reportedly wasn't looking to obtain information or infect end users, since the hacks only redirected traffic to a server controlled by the Syrian group.
Twitter.com, NYTimes.com and The Huffington Post's British web address were the targets.
The SEA was able to access these sites through Australian Internet service provider MelbourneIT, which manages domain names (including Twitter.com and NYTimes).
MelbourneIT tracked the breach to an Indian Internet service provider. Two staff members from one of their resellers reportedly opened a fake email looking to obtain login details.
, the hackers grabbed a hold of one staff member's email, which contained the login and password information of The New York Times.
While other media companies were attacked as well, the efforts were unsuccessful thanks to the use of registry locks.
MelbourneIT said it restored the correct domain name settings, changed the password on the account and locked the records.
This isn't the first time the Syrian groups attacked media sites. Hackers promoting the SEA targeted websites like CNN, Time and The Washington Post back in August by breaching a third party service that these sites use.
In August 2012, Reuters' blog was hacked and fake statements about Syria were posted. The report said the hackers were looking to spread negative misinformation about the freedom fighters actively rebelling against the
country's despotic regime
Reports believe the most recent hacks by the SEA have something to do with the Obama administration's possible decision to take military action against the government of Syria.
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8/28/2013 6:21:14 PM
It is amazing that a single users credentials are all that is required to take over the domain for NYT and twitter.
I can't believe changes to those domains can be made so easily. Edits to those domains should reside with only a very small group of people within the company and require some serious multi stage confirmation process (at a minimum calling the company involved to make sure they mean it).
8/29/2013 9:06:34 AM
Why is it amazing?
It's a web site, not a nuclear reactor. There is no real world tangible damage here.
Sure, in an ideal world there would be separate service account for each domain and they would be changed weekly, but in truth it doesn't always work that way.
Let's be clear what happened here - Twitter, NYT, etc weren't "hacked" or "taken control of" - the company they pay to manger (hold) their Internet domains was breached and DNS records were changed. So instead of www.abc.com point to 220.127.116.11 IP (the correct web server) the record was changed to point to 18.104.22.168 (the bad guy web server).
That's it!! Really, no hacking was involved here - just sloppy security.
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