Washington Post, which was recently purchased by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was briefly disrupted by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) this past Thursday. The SEA successfully redirected readers from the Washington Post’s website to its own website.
According to Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Managing Editor of Washington Post:
A few days ago, The Syrian Electronic Army, allegedly, subjected Post newsroom employees to a sophisticated phishing attack to gain password information. The attack resulted in one staff writer’s personal Twitter account being used to send out a Syrian Electronic Army message. For 30 minutes this morning, some articles on our web site were redirected to the Syrian Electronic Army’s site. The Syrian Electronic Army, in a Tweet, claimed they gained access to elements of our site by hacking one of our business partners, Outbrain. We have taken defensive measures and removed the offending module. At this time, we believe there are no other issues affecting The Post site.
However, Washington Post wasn’t the only website that got hacked, but also CNN and Time Magazine. According to the Atlantic Wire, the hackers gained access to those websites through Outbrain which provides the “other stories around the web” section for many websites. It is still unknown how the hackers hacked Outbrain but it is thought that they manipulated “the code included on Post articles to include a simple redirect to an external site.”
The SEA bragged about the hacks via Twitter:
Time, CNN and WashingtonPost Websites Hacked by #SEA | http://t.co/bkCzCDRsZe#SEA#SyrianElectronicArmypic.twitter.com/2X2v9ZaeVU
— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) August 15, 2013
This, in fact, isn’t the first time the SEA attacked top news other prominent websites. Earlier this year, the group “launched” attacks on Twitter, Thomson Reuters, The Associated Press, and The Guardian, and others. Will they attack more websites in the days to come? No one really knows. Stay tuned.