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The New York Times website has been inaccessible to many users for a good part of the afternoon.  According to at least one security expert, a hacktivist group with ties to the Assad regime is the likely culprit.

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."

Security threat researcher Matt Johansen said on Twitter that he suspected the attack was the work of the Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hackers aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Johansen's tweet indicated that someone had compromised the nytimes.com nameserver--and evidence pointed to funny business from the SEA domain.

Additionally, several users have posted screenshots on Twitter showing the NYT site replaced with a "Hacked by SEA" message.  So far, I'm only getting 404'd whenever I try to browse there.

It's not the first time the SEA has hacked into news organizations' sites.  On August 15, they attacked CNN and several other news organizations.  They've also gotten their hands on the AP and WaPo Twitter feeds as well.

It looks like things should be back to normal soon--as of 6 pm Eastern, the DNS report points back to the nytimes.com domain as normal.

3:24 PM PT: The NYT has set up a temporary site to post news updates:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why would the government of Syria do a DoS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, northsylvania

    attack against the NYT?  I don't buy it.  We are about to enter a propaganda war.

    •  It's not the government (5+ / 0-)

      It's a hacktivist group that backs Assad.

    •  From Wiki: (6+ / 0-)
      The Syrian Electronic Army, also known as the Syrian Electronic Soldiers, is a collection of pro-government computer hackers aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Using denial of service attacks, defacement, and other methods, it mainly targets political opposition groups and western websites, including news organizations and human rights groups. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is the first public, virtual army in the Arab world to openly launch cyber attacks on its opponents,[2] though the precise nature of its relationship with the Syrian government is debated.[3]
      ...
      The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) launched its website in May 2011, stating that it was not officially allied with the government. Rather, its members asserted that they were merely patriotic young people who decided to use their skills to attack enemies of the Syrian government and those who spread "fabricated news" about the Syrian civil war.
      From inforwarmonitor.net (June, 2011):
      Denial of Service and the Syrian Hackers School

      The Syrian Electronic Army and other pro-regime groups have started what constitutes a virtual academy to recruit and educate sympathizers on how to use Denial of Service (DoS) software and computer exploitation and infiltration techniques. Earlier this month, the group posted an announcement on Facebook seeking recruits who speak different languages, and provided an email address for interested individuals to send details and time of availability (See Figure 10).
      ...
      We acquired the DoS software “Bunder Fucker 1.0” from the links available on the SEA’s Facebook pages. The software’s interface indicates it is developed by a person known as Alex Izeld. The software is named after the Bandar bin Sultan, a prince of the Saudi royal family who had served as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the USA. The interface displays an image of Bandar bin Sultan beside an image of a donkey (an insulting combination in Arabic culture) as a logo (See Figure 11). Syrian local media have accused the Saudi prince of conspiring to destroy the country.

      The software targets four news websites: Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.net), BBC News ( www.bbc.co.uk), Syrian satellite broadcaster Orient TV, (www.orient-tv.net), and Dubai-based al-Arabia TV (www.alarabiya.net). The group claims the four websites were targeted because they spread biased and hostile information about the protests in Syria.

      Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

      by Hey338Too on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:40:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it was probably the illuminati. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too, koNko

      that, and read more closely.

  •  Can't access NYT as of 6:19 p.m. nt (0+ / 0-)

    I share a birthday with John Lennon and Bo Obama.

    by peacestpete on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:19:54 PM PDT

  •  Let them have their civil war. (0+ / 0-)

    It's almost orgasmic to them.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:25:08 PM PDT

  •  So that is what it was (0+ / 0-)

    It seems to still be going on.  Wow!

    I must give them credit given the NSAs own capabilities.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:41:29 PM PDT

  •  Another report, from Business Insider, fwiw. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taraka das

    here.

    The NYT actually had the presence of mind to say it appeared to be the SEA or someone who wanted very much to look like them.

  •  Prepare for an avalanche (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, taraka das

    of bullshit, I guess.

    Each day there will be another "reason" to go to war.

    •  Indeed. If you're looking for motive, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      protectspice

      why not start with the NSA?

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:23:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's this vast whorl (0+ / 0-)

        of two-fers and just gravys, for basically everyone involved in the business of America, the NSA  - yeah, and it was Clapper who put in that recent 3 or 4 hour Off With Assad's Head powerpoint presentation to our Leaders.

        Talk to the traders, they think it's all about the upcoming global financial collapse. And then, as you say, it's also obviously also the bottom lines of the Raytheons of the world (and perhaps compounded by their fear of sequestration). Then there's just the energy costs of war. The stock market will love it, if the invasion doesn't immediately backfire.

        I mean they have to please so. many. people.

  •  Funny thing is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo

    Only a handful of people even noticed the NYTs site was inaccessible. Damn. That's gotta suck for the old grey lady.

  •  Syrian Crises (0+ / 0-)

    I'm shocked at the lack of attention to the Syrian news stories here on Dailykos.
    There are (probably neocon liars) "leaking" to CNN and other sources that the Obama Admin is going to attack Syria on Thursday, Russians and Syrians are answering these unofficial leaks with official condemnations (Russia) and threats (Syria)
    CNN's message board is crashing over and over with 150 messages a minute, most of them probably plants from various groups (a guess? SEA, al queda, neocons, GOP, defense contractors, Russians, Anti-semites, Zionists, racists...I could go on)
    Sooo....nothing to say Dkos?

  •  This is not a classic Denial of Service (0+ / 0-)

    The SEA took control of the NY Times DNS servers by changing the domain's record.  They didn't overwhelm the domain with traffic, which is the usual definition of a Denial of Service.

    They did a similar thing for twitter this afternoon.

    Here's another blog post with more details.

    Active Listening practiced here.

    by CA coastsider on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:28:21 PM PDT

  •  Still down in the UK (0+ / 0-)

    as of 9:00 AM. Their mirror site is down as well. Commenters on the Guardian website are enjoying a good wallow in CT.

    “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

    by northsylvania on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 12:52:27 AM PDT

  •  The handle 'Syrian Electronic Army' is a curious o (0+ / 0-)

    They supposedly are the ones behind hacking such important sites as The Huffington Post (groan)

     If they want to be taken seriously they'd best step up and start hacking sites that would cause someone to notice, like electrical grids, stock markets, etcetera............

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