August 28, 2013 (TSR-AP) – The Syrian Electronic Armyhas, in recent months, taken credit for Web attacks on media targets that it sees as sympathetic to Syria’s rebels, including prior attacks at the New York Times, along with the The Daily Telegraph, Washington Post, Agence France-Press, The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera English and the BBC.
“Media is going down,” warned the Syrian Electronic Army in a Twitter message.
Within minutes of the attack, the New York Times quickly set up alternative websites, posting stories about chemical attacks in Syria. “Not Easy to Hide a Chemical Attack, Experts Say,” was the headline of one. The service was restored early Wednesday.
“Our website was unavailable to users in the United States for a time on Tuesday,” the newspaper said in a post on its website.
“The disruption was the result of an external attack on our domain name registrar, and we are at work on fully restoring service. We regret if this has caused you any inconvenience.”
The cyber-attacks come at a time when the Obama administration is trying to bolster its case for possible military action against Syria.
Both Twitter and the Times said they were resolving the attack, which actually hit an Australian company that registered their domain names, Melbourne IT.
Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT, a technology services and web hosting company, said the hackers entered the New York Times’ domain using the correct user name and password.
“They came in through the front door,” Hnarakis told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Wednesday. “If you’ve got a valid user name and password … the assumption from our systems is that you are the authorized owner and user of that domain name.”
The hacker “put some information on there that brought those websites down and we’re currently investigating,” he added.