10 Sep 2012

Syrian Electronic Army Hijacks Al Jazeera SMS Service; Rumors of Prime Minister’s Assassination Are Fake

Al Jazeera, the international news channel, temporarily lost control over its SMS service following a hack by a pro-Damascus underground group called Syrian Electronic Army, as reported by thehackernews.com.

“We’d like to inform our subscribers that Aljazeera sms service is being compromised by pirates and they’ve sent fake news with no basis,” reads the channel’s tweet confirming the hack, as translated by thehackernew.com.

Among fake information broadcast in the name of Al Jazeera was an announcement concerning a failed assassination attempt against Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem. “The story claiming that the Prime Minister has been the target of an assassination attempt in the royal palace is completely false and was a result of hacking of the service”, the official tweet later denied the hackers’ claims. A second SMS claimed that Sheiha Moza, the wife of Quatar’s Emir, had been lightly wounded, as noted by dohanews.com.

The Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the attack, publishing proof of the hack on its site. The organization urges site visitors to join its social media channels “to [support] the cause of the Syrian Arab people by armaments with science and knowledge against the campaigns led by the Arab media and Western on our Republic by broadcasting fabricated news about what is happening in Syria.”

Only a week before, Al Jazeera English’s front page had been hacked, using DNS poisoning, by pro-Syrian group Rashedon. In August, Reuters suffered two hack attacks, one against its blogging platform, and the other targeting its Twitter account.