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Hacker rivalry heats up over Syria

The Syrian Electronic Army, following attacks on Western news sites, denies it took a serious hit from Anonymous


Natasha Lennard
September 5, 2013 5:41PM (UTC)

The Syrian Electronic Army -- a hacker network of potentially thousands working on spectacle-heavy cyberattacks in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- has denied claims that it has suffered from hacks carried out by Anonymous.

The SEA, which largely carries out unsophisticated DDoS and spearphishing attacks against Western media outlets it perceives to be warping the truth about the Syrian conflict, has caused problems for numerous U.S. news organizations. Reportedly the group was subject to a significant revenge attack from hackers aligning with Anonymous earlier this year, gleaning the names and contact details of believed SEA members. HuffPo's Hunter Stuart summed up the details Thursday:

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Both the Global Post and security reporter Brian Krebs wrote that a trove of private information about the SEA -- including email addresses, passwords, Twitter handles and email messages of many purported SEA members -- was published on Deep Web sites sometime over Labor Day weekend. The data dump also appears to unmask the identities of a handful of the SEA's top members.

Motherboard reported that a young man named Hatem Deeb was revealed by the hack to be the leader of the group. NBC News recently pointed out that Deeb had been named as a "founding member" of the SEA in a Syrian newspaper article published back at the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

However, an SEA spokesperson, who wished to be called Syrian Eagle, told The Huffington Post Wednesday that the SEA had never been hacked -- by Anonymous or anyone. Syrian Eagle went on to say that the individuals named in the Global Post report were not actually SEA members at all.

"They published pictures/names of unknown persons for us," the spokesman said.

Syrian Eagle went on to add that news sites reporting the identities of alleged SEA leaders were just trying to "get attention" and speculated that the sites must have been ordered "to publish fake/fabricated informations about us."


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Anonymous Bashar Al-assad Ddos Hacking Spearphishing Syria Syrian Electronic Army

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