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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, " 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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say what?
By Ammohunt on 8/6/2012 1:52:09 PM , Rating: 4
.....misinformation about the freedom fighters actively rebelling against the country's despotic regime.

Calling these guys freedom fighters is as delusional as describing the "Arab Spring" as a democracy movement.

RE: say what?
By AEvangel on 8/6/2012 2:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
It has been documented that they have ties to al Qaeda. Oh, and our Govt knows this and is still funding them.

RE: say what?
By ClownPuncher on 8/6/2012 2:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
al Qaeda is using the chaos to their advantage. I wouldn't say those fighting the government and al Qaeda are bro's.

RE: say what?
By AEvangel on 8/6/2012 2:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't say it either, if the CIA had already notstated it themselves....check your facts.

The US Govt has acknowledge it and stated that even though we gave them like 2.5 million in aid, that al Qaeda is not a dominate force in the group of radical Islamic extremists.

RE: say what?
By albus on 8/6/2012 3:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
The US Govt has acknowledge it and stated that even though we gave them like 2.5 million in aid, that al Qaeda is not a dominate force in the group of radical Islamic extremists.

So US acknowledges that it is funding a terrorist organisation in which Al Qaeda is a minority! Osama would be shifting in his watery grave.

RE: say what?
By NellyFromMA on 8/6/2012 3:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
By well documented, do you mean you read those dtails in a couple of your favorite news web sites?

There is asuch a lack of concrete information regarding the Syrian civil war at this time and for over a year that frankly, NONE of the details are well documented. You know, unless YOU are getting insider info that the rest of the worl isn't privvy to.

Please don't tell me you're citing Bashar Al-Assad as the source of this information, seeing as how he is murdering civilians en-masse.

RE: say what?
By albus on 8/6/2012 3:27:51 PM , Rating: 2
Let me put your fears to rest. The US has offcially approved the CIA to fund the rebels. The money will foot the bills for food, weapons & medical aid. On the political front, for the past few months Hillary Clinton has been calling out UN to adopt a resolution that will prevent the Syrian government against armed foreign mercenaries. Any questions?

RE: say what?
By ClownPuncher on 8/6/2012 3:56:30 PM , Rating: 2

RE: say what?
By albus on 8/6/2012 3:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
Russians are restricted to Tartarus and no, they are not fighting.

RE: say what?
By Ramtech on 8/7/2012 6:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
You meant Tartus (city) not Tartarus (mythological place)

RE: say what?
By TSS on 8/6/2012 3:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Big deal the US government has funded al qaeda directly before. To do it through a proxy now is actually a step up as far as secrecy goes.

In fact, this whole news message is suspicious to the bone. Why would Assad or any of his men order an attack on reuters to post a story about how rebels have withdrawn from a city? What could possibly be the motive there? Or the gain?

This is a high resource attack, as hacking reuters i'm sure isn't easy due to their high profile status. It's a "low secrecy" attack, as it's pro assad therefor assad must've done it. But there is also virtually no gain, because it's a very easy to verify story. It doesn't make any sense in any type of a war to use resources this way, not even for rogue hackers. Heck i didn't even read or hear about the original story - conveniently deleted at this point - just the hack.

The only way this is able to make sense if the free syrian army did it themselves, with the intention of further damaging the regime's reputation by saying "see they did it". But considering the platform it was done on (i very much doubt reuters has lax security or they would've never become such a highly regarded source of information) there are just 2 logical posibilities left: Either a bigger government with resources was involved, like the US or Israel who *could* pull off such a hack. Or, reuters did it themselves at the request of the former, and simply claim it was hacked later as soon as the truth would be found out. In either situation, still a trap.

Syria right now is a minefield. Not just because of people shooting but because we have not even the faintest of ideas of who is in the right, or even what's going on. There are far too many power plays being made at the same time and it'll take decades to untangle the mess. But it definitly is not just your average civil war.

Only thing that really bothers me is how this propaganda from both sides is going to continue untll finally the US invades Iran. Everybody on the entire world already knows the US would just love, LOVE to invade iran and capture it's resources, while at the same time denying russia and china acces to the middle east. It's just going to take years even decades for them to do it.

Just get on with it!!!

RE: say what?
By albus on 8/6/2012 4:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
Before D Day, you have to soften the beach heads, hence the sanctions, oil embargoes, arming of Sunnis & weakening of Shias. Have a little patience. Your wish will soon come true.

RE: say what?
By Athalus_Nubie on 8/6/2012 4:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
Just a quick question, are you actually wanting the Govt to invade, or are you just saying that we know they are going to so why don't they just do it already?

I would say that the main reason that NATO and the US haven't gone into Iran (or Syria for that matter) is because they haven't been able to manufacture consent internationally, or internally in America yet.
And by that i mean that the government knows that the bulk of people in America wont approve of another war, particularly one that will almost certainly have reasonably high casualties.

Surely that means that it is our responsibility to make it dam clear to the government that the people WILL NOT support another war, regardless of what ridiculous claims they make about national security and terrorism?

RE: say what?
By glennco on 8/6/2012 7:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
the US needs to fix its own damn country before trying to 'fix' others...
- how about spending some of that wasted defence money on your own people.
- NEWS FLASH - the US is not the world police. we are not as grateful as you think, and no that doesn't make us ungrateful.
- spend some money on new fuel/transport technologies and forget about controlling the worlds oil.
- fix your corrupt political system which is based around greed. companies paying politicians under ther guise of campaign support funds to get kickbacks down the road sounds flat out illegal in any other industry, yet your country chooses its leaders this way.
- drop the paranoid police state mentality.

now when you have done this, maybe you can 'fix' the world

RE: say what?
By ClownPuncher on 8/6/2012 7:57:09 PM , Rating: 2
Have a Coca-Cola.

RE: say what?
By Athalus_Nubie on 8/6/2012 4:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
WOW! speaking as someone from outside of America it is so refreshing to see that (at least so far)the bulk of people reading this article are aware of the fact that the "freedom fighters" in Syria are not quite what the media is portraying them as.

Almost enough to renew my faith in humanity! Aleppo has been a Assad stronghold and still is, the rebels have come into Aleppo from outside of the city
(And outside of the country as well for the most part) in fact many of the free Syrian army seem to be Libyans.

Thanks so much for not just listening to what you hear on your TVs, and looking for the truth yourself instead.

a more accurate headline
By PaFromFL on 8/7/2012 8:30:52 AM , Rating: 2
Fake Statements About Syria Posted
Then Reuters Blog Backend Gets Hacked, More Fake Statements About Syria Posted

Maybe this will start a new trend where the man on the street will hack the news reports to inject some truth. I can't believe the slanted propaganda that passes for news these days. (e.g. The media should have prevented our Iraq invasion by reporting the facts.) A democracy cannot function when no one can find out what is really happening.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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