For several hours Tuesday, NYTimes.com
was unavailable, and hours later, another cyber attack was conducted against Twitter.
The Syrian Electronic Army, loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports.
website, once it was restored, prominently featured this update on its home page:
To Our Readers
Our Web site was unavailable to users in the United States for a time on Tuesday. The disruption was the result of an external attack on our domain name registrar, and we are at work on fully restoring service. We regret if this has caused you any inconvenience.
— The New York Times
During the downtime, the Times
posted stories to a mobile website separate from NYTimes.com
. It also offered updates on its Facebook page
The hack to Twitter was a little more complicated.
The Syrian Electronic Army tweeted
Tuesday that it had gained access to Twitter’s DNS servers, though it doesn’t appear the site itself was hacked. What was apparently hacked was Twitter’s image server. Multiple users said their background images had been changed to Syrian-themed images.
that image viewing on the site was “sporadically impacted” during the afternoon, but the image-hosting domain was restored by early evening. “No Twitter user information was affected by this incident,” the update added.
This is the second time the Times website has experienced unexpected downtime
in the past two weeks. The earlier downtime wasn’t the work of hackers, but rather the result of a mishap with a maintenance update, according to the paper.
The day after the first NYT
downtime, some readers of The Washington Post
’s website found themselves being redirected to the Syrian Electronic Army’s website in what clearly was an attack.
The same hackers struck last spring, hijacking Twitter accounts of the Associated Press, The Guardian
, “60 Minutes,” and even The Onion
The cyber attacks come as the United States weighs military action against Syria for its suspected use of chemical weapons against its own people.
Ragan Executive Editor Rob Reinalda contributed to this story.