Threatwatch

IT provider for NYTimes.com and Twitter tricked into leaking logins

Spearphishing; Stolen credentials; Man-in-the-middle attack

Melbourne IT, a firm that sells web addresses to prospective website owners, attributed a breach that knocked out the New York Times website to hackers who stole the username and password of one of the company's sales partners.

The perps launched a targeted phishing attack on the partner’s staff the week of Aug. 26. Essentially, several people were duped by emails into giving up log-in credentials.

Using those credentials, the hackers changed the records that direct computers to the Times website when people type NYTimes.com into an Internet browser.

It is widely believed that the hackers were tied to the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-regime hacktivist group.

The bad actors apparently also tried to redirect visitors of some Twitter services and Huffington Post U.K., but they didn't suffer easily visible outages.

“Marc Frons, chief information officer for the New York Times Co., told the newspaper that he attributed the breach to ‘the Syrian Electronic Army or someone trying very hard to be them.’ He warned company employees to refrain from sending sensitive email messages because the records changes made by the hackers could have allowed them to hijack emails.

The Syrian group did not immediately offer a reason for Tuesday’s attack, but it came as the White House debated how to respond to clear indications that the Syrian government launched a chemical attack on its civilians. Cybersecurity analysts said the incident highlighted the fact that every war will now have an online component.”

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.

sector

Media; Social Media; Web Services

reported

August 28, 2013

reported by

LA Times

number affected

Unknown

location of breach

Unknown

perpetrators

Syrian Hackers

location of perpetrators

Unknown

date breach occurred

August 27, 2013

date breach detected

August 27, 2013