Syrian Electronic Army hacked U.S. media companies using Outbrain

An image posted to the Syrian Electronic Army's Twitter account after hacking The Washington Post, CNN, and Time magazine.

The so-called Syrian Electronic Army can add a few notches to its hacking belt -- one for The Washington Post, CNN, and Time magazine. Those are just the latest media organizations to be hacked by the group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Several others have already been hacked this year. This incident was different, though. Rather than target a specific media company, hackers apparently went after a third party service that many websites use, called Outbrain. Chester Wisniewski, of cybersecurity firm Sophos,  says Outbrain tries to keep you on a website with links related to the article you're already reading.

Wisniewski suspects hackers may have gained access to Outbrain with a so-called "phishing" attack -- getting someone to click on a bad link in an email. He says the best defense against hacking is still employee training. Also, engaging third party companies like Outbrain can pose an issue for company security.

About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a computer security expert with the computer security firm Sophos.


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