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29 Nov, 2013 21:18

Syrian Electronic Army hacks TIME magazine over Assad

Syrian Electronic Army hacks TIME magazine over Assad

The hacktivist pro-Assad group known as the “Syrian Electronic Army” (SEA) briefly hijacked the Twitter feeds of TIME magazine in response to a critical description of President Assad’s candidacy for its ‘Person of the year’ award.

The SEA has tweeted from TIME’s official account: "Syrian Electronic Army was here via @Official_SEA16. Next time write a better word about the Syrian president #SEA”.

That tweet was soon deleted.

The group referred to TIME’s list of people – politicians and celebrities – selected as potential winners for “Person of the Year,” the magazine’s annual award.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the candidates, while the magazine describes him as: “Syria’s ruler presided over a bloody year, shrugging off international concerns over the use of chemical weapons as the death toll of his country’s civil war eclipsed 100,000.”

The voting closes on December, 4, with TIME's Person of the Year to be announced on December 11.

The SEA also claimed interfering with the vote on the US magazine’s webpage.

We closed @TIME vote temporarily while they edit the Syrian president description on the website #SEApic.twitter.com/qQfCcbR6K2

— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) November 29, 2013

TIME is not the first target of the notorious hacktivist group. The SEA, a group of hackers sympathetic to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, also claimed responsibility for cyber-attacks on The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and Thomson Reuters.

In April, they also compromised the main Twitter account for the Associated Press. As a result of the online attack, the Associated Press – one of the most trusted sources for journalists – falsely reported that US President Obama had been injured in a surprise attack on the White House, causing a brief panic online and even causing the stock market to fall by over 150 points.

Screenshot from twitter.com

The SEA also defaced a US Marine Corps recruitment website on September 2, posting images of US soldiers holding messages of contempt regarding possible American involvement in Syria.

Following that attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation added the SEA to its list of wanted criminals.

The Syrian Electronic army, a pro-regime hacker group that emerged during Syrian anti-government protests in 2011, has been compromising high-profile media outlets in an effort to spread pro-regime propaganda,” the FBI advisory stated. “The SEA’s primary capabilities include spearphishing, web defacements, and hijacking social media accounts to spread propaganda."