In this digital age it’s not surprising when websites of major corporations or even government entities are compromised in the name of activism or raising awareness. The New York Times is just the most recent company that was made an example by a group calling themselves the Syrian Activist Army.
The activist group has already targeted media organizations in the past that expressed particular sympathy with Syrian rebels, such as the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Al-Jazeera English and the BBC. The New York Times ultimately recovered their website the next day, and just minutes after the cyber attack set up temporary web pages.
The NYT posted a story titled “Not Easy to Hide a Chemical Attack, Experts Say” on one of the temporary web pages, an obvious message to their attackers. The attack comes at a time when President Obama considers military action in Syria in response to the apparent use of chemical weapons.
When the cyber attack happened Tuesday afternoon, NYT employees were warned to be wary of any emails they were sending out since the nature of the attack had yet to be determined. Later it was discovered that the Syrian Electronic Army attacked the company’s domain name registrar, located in Melbourne, Australia.
The S.E.A. first appeared in May 2011 during the Syrian uprisings and attacked several media outlets, nonprofits, and even the Facebook pages of President Obama and Oprah Winfrey by posting pro-Assad content. Though the S.E.A. claims it has no governmental ties, the Syrian people believe otherwise.