Syrian Hackers Target Columbia University's Facebook, but Miss

More

If you were to check out this Columbia University Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, you would find not the expected chattering of students and alums, but hundreds and hundreds of messages staunchly in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad. As a Columbia spokeswoman pointed out, the page isn't the official Columbia University page (that's here), but it sure looks like it, it has more than half the fans of the official one, and it turns up first in a search (at least it did for us). So a spammer aiming to attack the university's page could easily target this one by mistake.

That's what appears to have happened with the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-government online force that Assad has praised as "a real army in virtual reality." As The Atlantic Wire's Uri Friedman pointed out in July, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency says the group "monitor[s] what is being published on Arab and foreign web pages and then leaving hundreds of thousands of messages on these pages," what Friedman called "comments commandos." Googling some of the comments has them showing up verbatim elsewhere, which suggests they're part of a spam attack. But Columbia University seems like a weird target choice, especially given that the group's past targets have included Facebook pages of President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and ABC News.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Jump to comments
Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In