Shawn Henry, former Executive Assistant Director for the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, told ABC News another explanation is that other, less-committed actors may have tagged along with the group and claimed affiliation.
Either way, Henry, current President of CrowdStrike Services and CSO, said the claim that the SEA hacked into the domain registrar for the Times, essentially a lesser-known point on a supply chain that gave them access to the Times and others, shows a certain level of sophistication and pre-planning that's more advanced than the average hackivist.
He also warned the tactics could change any time – from the choice of targets to the damage done.
"So far this has been disruptive, but we've also seen groups in the not too distant past be disruptive in a way where they're destroying data," he said. "I think anytime you have access to a network and are able to make changes to it, that's something that people should be concerned about."