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New York Times website down in Syrian Electronic Army attack

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Hackers reportedly took down the New York Times Tuesday, leaving many readers unable to access the site.

As reported by the Washington Post, around 3pm, the website went down for many users around the globe. 

Times Vice President of Communications Eileen Murphy tweeted, “initial assessment - issue is most likely result of malicious external attack. working to fix.”

Though nytimes.com was down, the paper still remained accessible from its IP address, indicating that the domain name was redirected at a different server.

According to the Post, those servers are located in Syria and Moscow and owned by the pro-Assad hacker group Syrian Electronic Army. This year, the group attacked a number of other sites, including the Telegraph, the Onion, and even the Daily Dot.

The hack comes in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the U.S. government would be retaliating—in some form—against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria for using chemical weapons on citizens. Today’s Times homepage featured a video of Kerry’s announcement.

Twitter users also pointed to the SEA as the culprit. Indeed, it appears the the SEA’s IP address is now hosting a number of new domains including “sea.nytimes.com”—and Twitter itself.

HuffPo U.K. appeared on the list as well:

The SEA, usually quick to take credit for its attacks, waited a few hours to claim responsibility for the Times attack. 

But everyone else got a chance to weigh in first.

The New York Times released an article on the attack, writing,

Until now, The Times has been spared from being hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, which has successfully disrupted the Web operations of news organizations like The Financial Times. On Aug. 15, the group hacked The Washington Post’s Web site through a third-party service provided by a company called Outbrain. At the time, the Syrian Electronic Army also tried to hack CNN. Some information security experts said the group also appeared to be ready to hack The New York Times Web site that day.

In a post on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, The Syrian Electronic Army also said it had hacked the administrative contact information for Twitter’s domain name registry records. According to the Whois.com lookup service, the Syrian Electronic Army was listed on the entries for Twitter’s administrative name, technical name and e-mail address.

Read it in full here.

Illustration by Jason Reed