Feeds

Hacktivists torch C4's Jon Snow's web diary, reveal 'nuke strike' on Syria

Breaking news, literally

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Syrian hacktivists have chalked up more media-luvvie victims after hacking into and defacing blogs run by British broadcaster Channel 4.

The Syrian Electronic Army, which backs the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, took over an online diary maintained on behalf of veteran newscaster Jon Snow before posting a fictitious story about a tactical nuclear strike against Syria.

Hacktivists posted a screenshot of the administration panel for the WordPress web publishing software used by the Channel 4 blogs, showing off the grab as a trophy while claiming responsibility for the hack. Early indications suggest the compromise was not exploited to spread malware in drive-by downloads.

"The suspicion has to be that Channel 4 was running an old version of WordPress, vulnerable to a security exploit that allowed the hackers to gain access, or that an administrator had his password fished," writes security blogger Graham Cluley. "In the last few days, WordPress has released the latest version of its blogging platform – version 3.6."

Channel 4′s blogs were taken offline in response to the breach and replaced with a message stating "Something’s broken (or we’re making things better)" alongside a picture of characters from The IT Crowd sitcom. A separate section dedicated to Snow on the broadcaster's news website is running normally.

Cluley posted screenshots of the defacement and subsequent holding message by Channel 4 in a blog post here.

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has hacked numerous media organisation over recent months: it successfully targeted Twitter accounts and other social network profiles run by Al-Jazeera, the Associated Press, BBC, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Guardian, Human Rights Watch, America's National Public Radio, Thompson Reuters and more. Over recent weeks the group graduated to attacking into the backend systems of VoIP apps, such as Viber and Tango. The SEA also managed to take over three personal email accounts of White House employees, reportedly prompting the FBI to open an investigation.

This latter attack appears to have prompted a decision by Twitter to suspend the Syrian Electronic Army's official Twitter account, @Official_SEA12. The SEA set up replacement propaganda profiles on Twitter but these too were shut down, much to the apparent frustration of hacktivists who threatened war against Twitter. The SEA is now running a profile called @Official_SEA16, which boasted of the latest attacks against Channel 4.

The spate of attacks against media firms helped push the social network's rollout of two-factor authentication to secure profiles against the types of phishing attack the Syrian hacktivists specialise in. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.