Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

5/16/2013
12:04 PM
50%
50%

Who Is Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Facts

Syrian hackers claim to battle American imperialism, media bias and Angelina Jolie.
Previous
1 of 9
Next


Beware patriotic Syrian hackers holding a media grudge.

That's one takeaway from the ongoing exploits of the Syrian Electronic Army, a self-described group of grassroots Syrian hackers who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

During the country's two-year -- and counting -- civil war, the Syrian Electronic Army has been deployed as a propaganda tool to correct perceived slights or misinformation being disseminated via media outlets that the group sees as sympathetic to Syrian rebels. Its modus operandi is to compromise the Twitter and Facebook accounts of its targets, which are predominantly media outlets. The group's most well-known exploit to date was seizing control of multiple Associated Press (AP) Twitter feeds, then using them to issue bogus messages, including the following alert on April 23: "Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured."

In the wake of that tweet, the White House confirmed that the president was unharmed, that there had been no explosions and that the FBI was investigating the hoax tweets. Due to automated high-speed trading systems set to monitor Twitter feeds, however, the news triggered a temporary downturn in the U.S. stock market that briefly erased $200 billion in value. According to Th3 Pr0 (pronounced "the pro"), the self-described 18-year-old "leader of special operations department" for the Syrian Electronic Army -- personal website tagline: "proud to be pro-Assad hacker" -- the hack was in retaliation for Network Solutions having seized the group's domain names, as well as for the United States "supporting the terrorist groups in Syria."

"We generally target the most malicious media, especially those who refuse to cover both sides of the war," a member of the SEA's "Special Operations Division," known as the Shadow, told Vice magazine.

Other media outlets targeted by the group have included CBS, AFP, Sky News Arabia and E! Online, with the hackers using a seized Twitter feed at the celebrity news site to announce earlier this month that Justin Bieber was gay, before telling Bieber fans they'd been "trolled." That followed its March compromise of multiple BBC Twitter accounts, which the group used to post anti-Semitic rants as well as to offer the following report via the BBC's Twitter weather feed: "Saudi weather station down due to head-on collision with camel."

In May, meanwhile, the group seized control of the Twitter account for satire site the Onion. "UN retracts report of Syrian chemical weapon use: 'Lab tests confirm it is Jihadi body odor,'" reported one hoax tweet. Another said that the Onion's CEO said he regretted "taking Zionist money to defame Syria."

Obviously, the hacking group has its own perspective on not only the Syrian conflict, but what constitutes balanced reporting. For example, another hoax tweet -- posted to a hacked a Reuters Twitter account last year -- read: "White house spokesperson says financial and technical support given to #AlQaeda operatives in #Syria."

As that tweet illustrates, the Syrian Electronic Army persistently attempts to reframe the country's civil war as a conflict perpetrated by foreign powers that are arming terrorists and bringing them into the country in a bid to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government.

The hackers' perspective parallels more widespread, pro-Assad propaganda based on accusing many Western media outlets of not just bias, but also "persistent media warmongering, faking news and fabricating … stories." That's according to a report on the Syria News website, which claimed that "terror NATO sponsors" were "airlifting, training, arming, financing and smuggling Al-Qaeda terrorists" into Syria.

Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Christiaan Triebert.

RECOMMENDED READING

Anonymous OpUSA Hackathon: Mostly Bluster

Twitter Battles Syrian Hackers

Twitter Preps Two Factor Authentication After AP Hoax

How Syrian Electronic Army Unpeeled The Onion

Syrian Hacktivists Hit Guardian Twitter Feeds

Syria Back Online After Internet Blackout

Previous
1 of 9
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...