New York Times site still experiencing problems following Tuesday outage
Syrian Electronic Army takes credit for New York Times attack
The group is loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Twitter also experienced problems on Tuesday due to a similar attack
The New York Times website was still experiencing some issues late Wednesday and early Thursday following a widespread outage. Evidence continued to mount that it was the result of an attack by the Syrian Electronic Army.
The group, loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, has been behind multiple attacks on media websites in recent months and, on Twitter, took credit for a sophisticated hack that had hobbled the Times’ news site for roughly 20 hours.
“The @nytimes attack was going to deliver an anti-war message but our server couldn’t last for 3 minutes,” the group posted on its Twitter feed at about 9:40 Wednesday morning.
The attack came as governments in several countries considered military action in light of reports that Al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people in an effort to quell an uprising calling for his ouster.
“Our website and domain are now down, but it was worth the attempt, for #Syria and world peace,” the group wrote later.
The group said their site was taken down because they violated their registration agreement.
The newspaper posted a message on its Facebook page about 5 p.m. ET that said, “Many users are having difficulty accessing The New York Times online. We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is the outage is most likely the result of a malicious external attack.”
New York Times chief information officer Marc Frons sent the same update internally to employees at 4:20 p.m. and advised them not to send out sensitive emails “until this situation is resolved,” according to a statement from the New York Times. The outage was the result of an attack on the company’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT.
The hackers gained access to a Melbourne IT reseller account using a phishing email and proceeded to change the DNS records of multiple domains, including NYTimes.com, according to the company.
“We are currently reviewing our logs to see if we can obtain information on the identity of the party that has used the reseller credentials, and we will share this information with the reseller and any relevant law enforcement bodies,” said Melbourne IT’s Tony Smith in a statement.
Twitter also was hampered briefly by a similar attack.
Several Twitter users posted screenshots of a “Hacked by SEA” message they said they received when they went to the New York Times homepage.