FBI Labels Syrian President's Hacker Team "Terrorists", Adds Them to Wanted List
September 7, 2013 8:41 AM
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
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.
– 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
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.
organizer "Commander X" in an interview with
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.
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
members targeting them of being FBI or
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) moles posing as members of
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
The Washington Post
, Al Jazeera, the
, 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
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'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
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.
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],
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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