Hacking the media: some precedents

9th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

The large-scale hacking late on Wednesday of French television network TV5Monde by self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militants is the latest example of media hacking.

Here are some previous cases:

- 2015 -

January 16: Hackers take over Twitter accounts of the New York Post and United Press International, writing bogus messages, including ones about hostilities breaking out between the United States and China and an announcement by the Pope that World War III has begun.

January 18-21, 2015: A group of pro-Syrian regime hackers, known as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), take over the Twitter account of France's Le Monde newspaper, tweeting several messages including one reading "Je ne suis pas Charlie", a reference to the mobilisation after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris on January 7.

February 10: Newsweek's Twitter feed is hijacked by IS hackers, who threaten US President Barack Obama's family.

- 2014 -

November: a Chinese espionage team hacks the site of Forbes magazine to hunt defence contractors, financial firms, and other unsuspecting prey visiting the popular news website.

- 2013 -

January 31: The New York Times says that hackers stole its corporate passwords and accessed the personal computers of 53 employees after the newspaper published a report on the family fortune of China's Premier Wen Jiabao.

In early February, other American social media and media, including Twitter, Facebook, the US dailies Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal announce similar intrusions and the international service of CNN is blocked for six minutes.

February 6: The SEA attacks the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Arabic rolling information channel Sky News Arabia, a joint enterprise based in Abu Dhabi of British channel BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation.

February 26: The Twitter account of Agence France-Presse's (AFP's) photo service is hacked. Most of the images posted by the hackers are related to the conflict in Syria.

March 21: Three of the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC's) Twitter accounts, notably that dealing with the weather, are hacked by the SEA.

April 23: The New York Stock Exchange falls briefly after the SEA hacks the official account of The Associated Press (AP) to put out a false tweet saying President Barack Obama had been hurt in two explosions at the White House.

In 2013 SEA also targets the Twitter social media feeds at the BBC, Qatari television channel Al-Jazeera and Britain's Financial Times and Guardian newspapers.

- 2012 -

September 4: Several sites belonging to Al-Jazeera are attacked by the SEA.

- 2011 -

July 4: The official Twitter account operated by Fox News is hacked by American hackers, on US national day, posting a series of tweets claiming Obama has been assassinated.

© 2015 AFP

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