NY Times, Twitter Hit in Syrian Electronic Army DNS Attacks

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is at it again. The hactivist group targeted nine websites, including the New York Times, Twitter and Twimg, Twitter's image service. Redirects to servers the hackers controlled aimed to launch drive-by malware attacks on victims.

The SEA's high-profile media hacking spree began earlier this year. Among the victims of the group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are The Financial Times, The Guardian, and the Associated Press. Most recently, the Washington Post got hit. The common running theme: the papers reported stories SEA didn't like.

No Hacking Here

We asked Ken Pickering, the director of engineering at CORE Security, for his reaction to the attacks. He told us saying the Times was directly hacked is a bit of a fallacy.

"Realistically, their DNS provider was hacked. The end result is the same: The website being unavailable -- or serving up malware -- but there's not a whole lot the New York Times can do if their third party DNS provider was hacked," Pickering said.

"This points out one of the weaknesses of Internet architecture: blind trust on a DNS architecture. If they report the server IP has changed for a domain, most of us blindly trust going to that new IP," he added. "The system is only really failsafe if DNS providers are unhackable, which obviously isn't the case. And this is the resultant outcome: A story that the New York Times was hacked with very little they could do aside from picking a better service provider."

An IT Security Object Lesson

We also asked Kevin O'Brien, enterprise solution architect at CloudLock, for his views on the latest in a growing string of attacks against mainstream media. He told these attacks are not the same as having actual servers managed and run by the New York Times hacked. "The fundamental...

Comments are closed.