On Tuesday Al Jazeera became the latest casualty in the online war raging alongside the Syrian conflict as hackers claiming to be Syrian loyalists defaced it with a screed against its coverage, but they weren't terribly thorough. The main site, www.aljazeera.net, has been replaced by an image of a Syrian flag and some Arabic writing that Gizmodo's Sam Biddle translated as the following:
We have hacked you because your lack of support of Syrian government and militant groups backed by that government. Al Jazeera has been spreading lies. We're compelled to do so on behalf of the Syrian people.
But another variant of the URL, aljazeera.net (sans www), is working fine for us, as is the English-language site, aljazeera.com. The defaced site carries a note that says "Hacked by Al-Rashedon." and Reuters offers further translation of the missive, which accuses the Qatar-based network of supporting "armed terrorist groups and spreading lies and fabricated news."
Syrian loyalists have a strong online presence known as the Syrian Electronic Army, which targets media and other sites it sees as sympathetic to the Syrian rebels. Reuters' blogging site was hacked twice last month, with a fake story about a Syrian rebel retreat going up on Jeffrey Goldfarb's blog. Syrian pro-government activists didn't take credit for that attack, but its subject matter suggests they had something to do with it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.