Syrian Electronic Army hacks Reuters Twitter feed with pro-Assad cartoons

Thomson Reuters are the latest major media outlet to have their Twitter hacked by the pro-regime group

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The Independent Tech

The Twitter account belonging to Thomson Reuters has been hacked, making the news agency the latest target of the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).

Seven posts were made by the SEA, with six uploading crude satirical cartoons in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The cartoons depict Syrian rebels as cannibals and US intervention as counter to the country’s best interests.

The final post read “Always via Syrian Electronic  Army(@Official_SEA12#SEA  #Syria  #SyrianElectronicArmy”, though the Twitter account linked to has now been suspended.

Thompson Reuters later confirmed that they'd been hacked, saying they were now investigating the incident. They released the following statement:

"Earlier today @thomsonreuters was hacked. In this time, unauthorized individuals have posted fabricated tweets of which Thomson Reuters is not the source. The account has been suspended and is currently under investigation."

This is only the latest high-profile hack for which the SEA has claimed responsibility. Previous victims have included the Associated Press, the BBC and the Financial Times. In response to the attacks Twitter introduced two-step logins which link accounts to a mobile number and texts it with an authorization code.

The SEA’s approach to handling hacked accounts has been varied. After hijacking that belonging to the Associated Press the group send a message saying that President Obama had been injured in a blast at the White House. The news sent the Dow Jones industrial average spiralling by 143 points and briefly knocked billions off the stock market.

After hacking the BBC’s weather feed the group posted a mix of messages beginning with pro-regime slogans before descending into surreal weather forecasts. These included “Saudi weather station down due to head-on collision with camel” and “Chaotic weather forecast for Lebanon as the government decides to distance itself from the Milky Way.”

When American spoof news website The Onion was hacked the site released a guide entitled ‘How To Prevent Your Major Media Site From Being Hacked’. Advice includes “Well, firing your IT person is certainly not a bad place to start” and “Shoot out an email reminding employees to be really careful online.”

The full set of cartoons uploaded by the SEA to Thomson Reuter’s account were captured by Buzzfeed here.