Pro-Assad hackers hijack al-Jazeera service

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Hackers supporting the Syrian government have hacked the mobile service of the al-Jazeera news network.

In a similar attack to that on Reuters last month, fake news reports were sent out via SMS to the service's subscribers.

These included a statement that the prime minister of Qatar - where al-Jazeera is based - had been the target of an assassination attempt. Another claimed that the wife of the country's emir had been wounded.

"We wish to draw the attention of Al Jazeera Mobile service subscribers to the fact that our text messaging service has been penetrated by hackers who have published unfounded news," says al-Jazeera in a tweet.

A pro-Syrian government group called the Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility. It posted a video of the hack on YouTube, although this has now been removed by YouTube.

It's not known if this is the same group that carried out the attack on Reuters. On that occasion, the news service suffered two breaches within days, with the hackers defacing its Twitter account.

However, the SEA has targeted several other organizations in the past, including the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya News and the Harvard University website.

Last week, al-Jazeera's Arabic website was hacked, and a Syrian flag posted on the front page, with a group called al-Rashedon claiming responsibility.