Washington Post, CNN, Time Hit by Syrian Electronic Army Hackers

Mike O'Brien

Visitors to the Washington Post’s website got a nasty surprise when they clicked on certain "World News" stories on Thursday – they were redirected to the Syrian Electronic Army’s website.

The pro-Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad group interrupted the site for about 30 minutes.

In the report on the intrusion, the Post’s managing editor-digital Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said: "We’ve taken defensive measures, and at this time there are no other issues affecting the site."

The hacking followed a "phishing" attack by an unidentified source earlier in the week aimed at getting hold of the passwords and log-in information of the e-mail accounts of Washington Post journalists.

The source of the attack sent e-mails to Post mailboxes that appeared to emanate from Post colleagues; the e-mails directed recipients to click a link and provide log-in data.

That information could then be used by an outside source to gain unauthorized access to a computer network.

It is widely believe the Syrian Electronic Army was also the source of the phishing scam.

The Post was not alone in suffering a hack attack. In a tweet sent Thursday morning, the SEA claimed that it hacked the Web sites of The Post, CNN and Time magazine "in one strike."

The tweet said that The Post’s site was hacked through the content recommendation service Outbrain.

A CNN spokesman: "The security of a vendor plug-in that appeared on CNNi.com was briefly compromised today.

"The issue was quickly identified and plug-in disabled. Neither CNN.com nor CNNi.com were penetrated directly."

Earlier this week, the SEA also hit the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the New York Post.