A Cyber attack by Syrian Electronic Army may be Assad’s most dangerous reaction to U.S. air strikes

Aug 28 2013 - 2 Comments

Considered the current status of the Syrian military, whose capabilities have been consumed by a couple of years of war against the rebels of the Free Syrian Army, a series of cyber attacks by the Syrian Electronic Army is the most serious answer the U.S. can expect from Damascus following an attack on Assad’s Chemical Warfare arsenal.

According to Wikipedia:

“The Syrian Electronic Army, also known as the Syrian Electronic Soldiers, is a collection of pro-government computer hackers aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Using denial of service attacks, defacement, and other methods, it mainly targets political opposition groups and western websites, including news organizations and human rights groups. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is the first public, virtual army in the Arab world to openly launch cyber attacks on its opponents, though the precise nature of its relationship with the Syrian government is debated.”

Hackmageddon.com Editor Paolo Passeri (@paulsparrows) explains:

“The SEA is not an Advanced Persistent Threat as we know it. Their attacks are limited, not persistent nor advanced.

They usually conduct social engineering attacks against media with the aim to spread their propaganda messages using compromised Twitter accounts or defaced websites. They send spear phishing emails to their targets in order to get the user credentials needed to get into the accounts and post their messages.

Most of times, once compromised, the targeted media disclosed the (successful) attack describing the hack with specific blog posts, like done by The Onion and Outbrain.”

Hackmageddon.com was one of the first ICT security-focused blogs to follow SEA’s activities and record all their hacks in its attack timelines.

In the last hours SEA attacked NYTimes.com (the media outlet had its DNS redirected to a page displaying the “Hacked by SEA” message) whereas Twitter’s domain registrar was changed.

Since they are a loose-knit hacker group loyal to Assad, SEA are likely to react to the air strikes that are about to pound Syria. Even if their assault will be not-persistent, not-advanced it could still cause some pain. If not to Obama or the Pentagon, to one of the media outlets that will be reporting about the U.S. air campaign in Syria.

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  • Zz

    I hear some accounts were cracked (including removing inciminating youtube videos) with real life brute force attack on prisonners and not on the internet so their inteligence is involved somehow

  • John Mulligan

    With the NYT attack, they changed the DNA settings? So was that with their servers or the domain registrar?