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Pro-Syrian government hacktivists have cracked the mobile update service of al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite news network.

Three fake news story were pushed through al-Jazeera's SMS alert service as a result of the breach, the BBC reports. One of the reports was apparently a bogus alert that an attempt had been made on the life of Qatar's prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani. The pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) claimed responsibility for the assault.

The hack is the fourth of its kind over recent weeks. Last week hackers defaced al-Jazeera's Arabic-language website, plastering the image of a Syrian flag on its front page. That particular assault – by a group calling itself al-Rashedon – followed a February defacement (a screenshot of that defacement was archived by thehackernews.com here), another attack claimed by the SEA. More recently the Syrian Electronic Army claimed to have been responsible for the hijack of al-Jazeera's Twitter feed, where the hijacker posted updates denouncing Syrian opposition fighters.

The Syrian Electronic Army also targeted Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News, Reuters and a Harvard University website as part of an ongoing propaganda offensive on the web that has accompanied the bitter months-long civil war in Syria.

Gulf States have been supportive of Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's regime since the conflict began, a factor that has made al-Jazeera (in particular) a prime candidate for attack.

The Syrian Electronic Army maintains a fairly sophisticated website that has also been used to published the supposed email addresses and passwords of 11,000 NATO supporters and 700 Anonymous members. the authenticity of either list remains unproven. ®

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