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Print 22 comment(s) - last by ClownPuncher.. on Sep 9 at 2:38 PM


The Syrian Electronic Army has been targeted by the FBI.  (Source: Digital Trends)
Meanwhile SEA and Anonymous continue to butt heads, claim to hack each other

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) -- a group of hackers endorsed by the government of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- has been targeted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a new advisory [PDF].  The FBI uses advisories to target cybercriminal groups that are on its international wanted list.

The advisory's describes the group writing:

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a pro-regime hacker group that emerged during Syrian anti-government protests in 2011, has been compromising high-profile media outlets in an effort to spread pro-regime propaganda. The SEA’s primary capabilities include spearphishing, Web defacements, and hijacking social media accounts to spread propaganda. Over the past several months, the SEA has been highly effective in compromising multiple high-profile media outlets.

The language of the advisory indicates both that members of Syrian hacker group are viewed as "terrorists" (although that word is not explicitly used by the agency) and that those helping them may face cybercrime and/or terrorism charges.
 
The hacker collective Anonymous – an international group without leaders -- has had mixed relations with the SEA.  While the group's biggest Twitter feed "YourAnonNews" regularly reports on the groups exploits, giving it publicity.  However, some members of Anonymous have also targeted the SEA for supporting al-Assad -- a leader who has been accused of using deadly sarin nerve gas on his own people.  Anonymous organizer "Commander X" in an interview with Vice remarked:

They are, by their own choice of allegiance to the dictator, the enemies of Anonymous. And they introduced themselves into the conflict fairly early on with a rather spectacular hack of a fairly well known Anonymous web site. We, in turn, responded by attacking their web assets and that conflict continues to this day.

Anonymous members targeting the SEA and al-Assad's online presence claim they're fighting for the freedom of the Syrian people.  They claim to have hacked the SEA more than once, exposing the real world identities of some SEA members.  The SEA, meanwhile, denies these claims and accuses Anonymous members targeting them of being FBI or U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) moles posing as members of Anonymous.


The SEA has drew the ire of the western world by attacking organization it regards as "anti-Assad" including many top news agencies and some humanitarian groups.  Over the past year it's compromised, defaced the webpages of, and/or denied service to Harvard University's homepage, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, the Telegraph (UK), the Independent (UK), Reuters, and -- most recently -- The New York Times.  

The group has also compromised several government sites -- most recently the recruiting page of the U.S. Marines, marines.com.  In one of its most controversial moves they defaced the page of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), a nonprofit, independent, international humanitarian organization that gives aid and tries to report on war crimes.

SEA Harvard
SEA's defacement of Harvard's webpage [Image Source: Vice]

Ironically some of the group's most effective and disruptive efforts have been via compromising Twitter feeds.  The SEA has compromised the Twitter feeds of BBC News Weather and The Associated Press.  In the latter hack, which occurred last April the SEA posted fake news about a bombing at the White House and claims that President Obama had been injured.  The fake news created a mini stock market crash from traders who feared the worse, before trading was halted when the news was identified as fake.

Congress is currently debating a bomber or missile strike on President al-Assad, as information on allegations that he used chemical weapons slowly emerges.  CNN reports that over half of Senators and members of the House of Representatives remain undecided.  A major concern is that the Syrian opposition allegedly has ties to al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations.

On Sunday various Syrian officials and state media sources taunted President Obama's decision to wait for Congressional approval to strike al-Assad as "hesitant and confused" and describing his actions as "[a] historic American retreat".  

Sources: FBI [press release], [Advisory; PDF]



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only picking on the little guys?
By purerice on 9/7/2013 12:42:44 PM , Rating: 4
Yet the FBI/CIA/NSA don't mind that Chinese hackers do much worse? How are Chinese hackers not terrorists for hacking into much more vital and dangerous areas than simple websites?

Or is it just that the FBI/CIA/NSA only like to pick on the little guys?




By Reclaimer77 on 9/7/2013 4:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Obama wants to get a war on, its that simple. Kind of convenient, the timing of this announcement, don't you think?


RE: only picking on the little guys?
By B3an on 9/7/2013 10:31:20 PM , Rating: 1
Well to all us people lucky enough to not live in the US, we all think the US and NSA is worser than them all. Biggest spammers as well.


RE: only picking on the little guys?
By Ahnilated on 9/8/2013 12:01:02 AM , Rating: 3
Because the chinese own massive loans on the US.


RE: only picking on the little guys?
By ClownPuncher on 9/9/2013 12:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
It's mostly bonds that the Chinese bought. It's not a loan, it's an investment.


RE: only picking on the little guys?
By boeush on 9/9/2013 2:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see. I ask you to give me money, and in return I give you a legally-binding certificate that entitles you to a payout of all the money you gave me, with interest, by a set date. How is that not the very definition of a loan?


By ClownPuncher on 9/9/2013 2:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
I guess all of my investments are loans to financial institutions, too? Either that, or they are investments.


RE: only picking on the little guys?
By othercents on 9/9/2013 10:21:46 AM , Rating: 2
Because the FBI/CIA/NSA can not determine who is hacking the US from China. The Syrian hack has been confirmed and the organization has taken credit for it.


By wordsworm on 9/9/2013 10:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
Don't let facts get in the way of China bashing. The inbred community on DT love to take as many articles on DT as they can and spin them into why we should be bombing China and putting all non-whites into work camps.


By boeush on 9/9/2013 2:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's pretty well known that the Chinese army - a.k.a. the PLA - is behind some of the most egregious hacks. Here's a couple of fairly recent and salient news items (Google will fetch you hundreds more with only a modicum of effort):

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/28/1855678...

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517786/chines...


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