These are first tier news organizations with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. What they say spreads like a wild fire.
And their influence is no joke. When @AP tweeted about an attack on the White House last week, the Dow Jones stock fell about 145 points within minutes. If it were true, the United States market would have lost $136 billion and said hello to another recession.
The group that has taken credit of the recent hacks call themselves the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).
The Guardian was their latest victim, hacked on Monday. People at the Guardian received emails to click on links that asked members to access their social media accounts. The email looked similar to past e-mail blasts and, many people at the Guardian moderate their personal accounts. Those who clicked the link allowed the SEA access to their accounts.
Kinda like the fake Twitter direct messages or tweets we would see from our followers.
Hacks from the SEA may come off as random acts, but they really aren’t. This group has been attacking Arab and Western organizations since 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gee, wonder why they’re trying to get our attention? Are they tired of not receiving enough media attention?
It makes sense that the SEA would want to hack Twitter accounts. Their tweets from accounts with massive followings will reach people from all over the world in an instant. They are not crying for help, they are defending Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s image.
SEA is a team of al-Assad supporters. They are technically not working for the government, but are hosted on Syria’s national computer network. At the moment, there is no evidence that this a government operation. If there was, there would be consequences for spreading information like this.
According to the SEA website,
“We are a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria.”
Reports saying that President al-Asaad is weak, oppressive, or unsympathic to the civil war are considered fabricated information by the SEA. Pretty much going against any footage that sounds like this.
Why is SEA hacking now when they have been around since 2011? Many news organizations have aired segments on the bombings, Syrian refugees in Turkey, and uncertainty of what to do about Syria. As a pro al-Asaad organization, the SEA’s tweets have not said anything threatening. Solely stating that these outlets are wrong and people should listen to the SEA instead.
Then there’s President Barack Obama‘s red line.
We aren’t talking about the train that runs from Alewife to Ashmont/Braintree, we are talking about our president’s limits. For two years, we have watched, heard, and read about the Syrian civil war. Syria was not the first country to have an uprising against its president (Tunisia was), but it is probably one of the last countries still fighting against its government.
Obama said if there’s clear evidence that President al-Asaad is using chemical weapons on civilians, they would intervene. On Thursday, he mentioned that there’s proof that the Syrian government is using sarin on a small scale.
Where the U.S government goes from here is unclear because they don’t want another invasion similar to Iraq (thanks George W. Bush!). Obama wants to get the cold, hard facts before looking like Big Brother again. I get it.
The SEA’s intentions of these consistent Twitter attacks are unclear. Are they serving as a buffer for the Syrian government? Or are they trying to lure tech-savvy al-Asaad supporters?