Western media websites hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

28 Nov 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ Syrian Electronic Army ‘hack mayhem’ hits Western media sites.

LONDON/TORONTO (Reuters) – The websites of British and North American media organizations and retailer Wal-Mart’s Canadian unit were hacked on Thursday in a suspected attack by the Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to reports from users on Twitter the affected sites included those of CNBC, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, OK magazine, the Evening Standard, PCWorld, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

SEA does not appear to have actually hacked the affected websites directly, but instead pulled off the attack through Gigya, a customer identity management platform used by a large number of brands. The Independent later reported that the hackers attacked the Gigya DNS entry at GoDaddy – a domain registrar that manages domain names, but “the Gigya platform itself was not hacked.” The SEA has engaged in a number of operations in recent months against Western media websites, and is perhaps best known for claiming to have compromised the Twitter account of the Associated Press last year. The group posted a screen shot on Twitter from inside the control panel for the Gigya.com domain at GoDaddy, suggesting that they had control over the account.

The hackers managed to change the DNS (Domain Name System) entries for the Gigya domain, pointing it to messages and images hosted on other servers, reported The Independent, one of the organizations whose website was affected. The press: Please don’t pretend #ISIS are civilians. #SEA” A Twitter account affiliated with the Syrian group posted an image on Thursday that appeared to show it accessed the GoDaddy account of gigya.com, a company that helps businesses identify those who visit their websites. In January, the SEA gained unauthorized access to social media accounts affiliated with Skype and posted messages critical of the Microsoft-owned product and the US government’s relationship with Silicon Valley. The issue has now been resolved, the publication said. “A part of our website run by a third-party was compromised earlier today,” The Telegraph said via its Twitter account. “We’ve removed the component.

Gigya counts the NFL, NBA and NHL professional sports leagues, and media outlets including the CBC, CBS, NBC, Forbes, CNN, al Jazeera and Fox among its customers. It was not immediately clear how many of them were affected. “To be absolutely clear: Neither Gigya’s platform itself nor any user, administrator or operational data has been compromised and was never at risk of being compromised,” Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer said in a blog post. The group went as far as allegedly penetrating the network of the United States Central Command and hacking into Barack Obama’s Twitter and Facebook.

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