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Friday, January 24, 2014

CNN hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

CNN's social outlets and even one of its blogs were briefly compromised by hacker group the Syrian Electronic Army on Thursday. SEA has performed superficial but highly visible hacks of various press outlets over the last year, always posting provocative material related to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

The news company's Facebook and Twitter accounts showed content from SEA between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, such as tweets reminding CNN's followers that "Obama Bin Laden the lord of terror is brewing lies that the Syrian state controls Al Qaeda."

Meanwhile, on CNN's "Security Clearance" blog, a post appeared that said "US declares state of national emergency, State department reportedly out of reach." The content was clearly fake, beginning with the nonsensical statement that "Press has received a telegram."

All accounts were reverted to CNN control and the fake content removed within a few minutes. SEA seems to target social media and blogging accounts because of the low standard for security — a misplaced phone or fake email from IT might be all it takes to take over a major news outlet's social media streams.

The hacker group claimed responsibility on its own Twitter account, framing the act as retaliation against CNN for biased reporting on Syria. Previous victims include the AP, The Washington Post, President Obama's official Twitter, and even satire news site The Onion.

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