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Top media organization is investigating where the attacks originated from

On Friday Thompson Reuters, one of the internet's most visited sources for interviews, reporting, and analysis, was the victim of malicious hackers who gained access to the content management system it uses to post blogs.

While Reuters says it does not currently know the identity of the attackers, it is clear they were fixated on Syria and were looking to spread negative misinformation about the freedom fighters actively rebelling against the country's despotic regime.

In one of the blogs, a post claiming to be an interview with Free Syrian Army leader Riad al-Asaad was posted.  The report cited the faux-al-Asaad as saying that FSA forces were withdrawing from the city of Aleppo, a hottly contested urban battleground in the war-torn nation.

The withdrawl would have been a huge coup for President Bashar al-Assad's bid to stay in power -- the only problem was that it was completely false.  The report drew swift condemnation from the real FSA, who blamed President al-Assad's government for spreading lies.

Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian fighters, masked to prevent their families from being murdered by President al-Assad's forces. [Image Source: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters]

Reuters briefly yanked its CMS and blogs offline in order to lock out the intruders.

It released a statement, commenting, "Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday.  Our blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists.  Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted."

Reuters reporters on the ground say the FSA is still very much inside Aleppo, a massive Middle Eastern metropolis that is the size of Chicago.  The FSA fighters wear masks, causing some westerners to mistake them for "terrorist" insurrgents, such as Al Qaeda.  However, the masks serve a more pragmatic purpose for the freedom fighters -- keeping their identities secret to prevent their families from being murdered in retaliation by the ruling regime.

Syria's ruling regime has shown itself to be tech-savvy, attempting to strictly censor domestic networks last year in a failed bid to stave off revolt.

This incident just goes to show, you have to take anything online with a grain of salt -- even if it comes from a typically reliable source.

Source: Reuters





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