Syrian Electronic Army Twitter Account Claims Takeover

New York Times Site Went Down Earlier in Day, Times Suspects Hack

August 27, 2013, 5:58 PM
PHOTO: Twitter screen on BlackBerry
Micro-blogging site Twitter is shown on a BlackBerry smartphone in this Oct. 23, 2012 photo.
Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

Aug. 27, 2013 — -- A Twitter account allegedly belonging to the Syrian Electronic Army claimed to have taken over, though the site appeared to be functioning normally.

The hacker group's apparent Twitter account claimed it hacked into Twitter's registry account, or what is known as a domain name server (DNS).

The account tweeted Tuesday, "Hi @Twitter, look at your domain, its owned by #SEA :)," and posted a screen shot of what appeared to be the search results for Twitter's domain registry on the domain name registration database,

In the screen shot, it appeared that some of the contact information was changed so that looked like the Syrian Electronic Army owned

In a statement on the company's blog, Twitter said, "At 20:49 UTC, our DNS provider experienced an issue in which it appears DNS records for various organizations were modified, including one of Twitter's domains used for image serving, Viewing of images and photos was sporadically impacted. By 22:29 UTC, the original domain record for was restored. No Twitter user information was affected by this incident."

The same Twitter account also claimed the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the New York Times' and Huffington Post UK's DNS accounts and made it appear as if the Syrian Electronic Army owned those sites, as well.

But shortly after, the Twitter and Huffington Post UK accounts appeared to be back to their regular ownership on lookups.

While the Huffington Post's UK website appeared to be functioning normally after the initial tweet from the apparent SEA account, the New York Times' website appeared to be unavailable for several hours, continuing into this evening.

The New York Times said that it believed today's outage was a result of external "malicious attack." When asked by ABC News about any Syria links, New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy had no comment.

Rick Holland, information security expert at Forrester Research, said that if the SEA is indeed behind today's attacks, "this is continued behavior that we have seen for the last couple of years. This isn't anything new for this group."

In the past, the same Twitter account claimed responsibility on behalf of the Syrian Electronic Army for an Aug. 15 attack on the Washington Post, as well as attacks on the websites for CNN and Time.

In recent months, the SEA has publicly taken credit for a series of high-profile cyber assaults, including taking over the Twitter feeds of prominent organizations such as The Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Post and the satirical news site The Onion.

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ABC News' Zunaira Zaki and Lee Ferran contributed to this report.

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