Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Syrian Electronic Army’s Media War | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55299870

Logo of the Syrian Electronic Army, captured today from the group’s website.

Logo of the Syrian Electronic Army, captured today from the group's website.

Logo of the Syrian Electronic Army, as shown on the group’s website today.

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Today, there is nothing that cannot be done from behind a computer screen—including waging war.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) succeeded in hacking into the Associated Press’s Twitter account, sending out a fake tweet about a terrorist attack on the White House that injured President Barack Obama.

The fake White House tweet caused the US stock market to drop by 1% in a matter of seconds.

The pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army has yet to be linked to the Syrian government, although its now-obsolete website was registered by the Syrian Computer Society, which was previously led by President Bashar Al-Assad himself.

In response to the cyber-attack by the SEA, Twitter has been banning SEA user accounts; however, the pro-Assad hackers continue to create new ones.

Besides the AP Twitter account, other alleged targets have included Harvard University, the BBC, and Qatar’s pro-Syrian-opposition news channel Al-Jazeera.

In an interview via Twitter with London’s Financial Times newspaper, an SEA member claimed that the group is targeting all countries that support “terrorist groups” in Syria. He also demanded that Twitter officials refrain from suspending the group’s accounts and domain, so they could enjoy “American freedom of speech.”

Graham Cluley, a technology consultant for computer security firm Sophos, told the BBC that the SEA probably used “phishing,” a process by which emails that appear to be from Twitter compel users to enter their passwords. Another method may be infecting computers with key-logging software that allows everything typed to be monitored by hackers.

The mystery of the SEA’s identity continues, with the only indication on their now-obsolete website being a brief description by the group defining themselves as “enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria.”

According to CNN, the group’s modus operands shares some similarities with that of Anonymous, the hacker collective known for its distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which take websites offline; however, the SEA domain name and registration indicate clear connections with Syria.

Today, the SEA’s twitter feed read, “President Bashar Al-Assad commends the Syrian Electronic Army,” with a link to a YouTube video.