Aug 30, 2013

Assad’s army: the future of hacking is here, with a new target

Syrian interests have brought down the New York Times via a Melbourne IT company. Hacking is changing, new targets are in sight -- and it could lead to a surveillance society or total chaos.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

The Syrian Electronic Army has made quite a name for itself over the last year. Browse The New Yorker‘s list of its hacks and you can see why. Targets have included a dozen of the world’s best-known media brands — from The Washington Post and The Guardian to Al Jazeera, the BBC, CNN and even The Onion — with steadily increasing technical sophistication and impact.

The media notices when the media itself is the target.

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4 thoughts on “Assad’s army: the future of hacking is here, with a new target

  1. Scott

    “Given The New York Times Media Group’s annual revenue of a shade under US$1.6 billion, the financial impact must surely be measured in the millions”

    I doubt it…Biggest impact on the website being down is on-line advertising, which only makes up 25% of the advertising revenue for the group.
    I calculated it as around $500,000 a day so if the website was down for approx 6 hours, probably only a small financial cost….less than the cost of the IT security manager who is now updating his linkedin profile.

    Potential Online Subscribers who may have wanted to subscribe during the outage will just buy the hard copy today and subscribe tomorrow. No biggy.

    Reputational damage to the brand is the biggest worry, but as they can blame Melbourne IT, no major issue.

    Once again, I think people overestimate the effect of “cyber warfare”, especially these sort of denial of service or propaganda attacks which are more annoying than anything else. The US Government will not be prevented from launching missles at Syria based on a couple of script kiddies who cause a some websites to crash. Just more Gen Y “we think we are more important than we actually are” rubbish.

  2. robinw

    Interesting article. Thank you.

  3. Hamis Hill

    In this scenario do we need a national government lead by someone who regularly uses the “I’m (like most people, you know) not a Tech Head” excuse to disengage from any sensible discussion of such important matters?
    And would a such government, antagonistic to the desire of most Australians to have a world class digital communications network, represent a national security risk in itself?
    Is this a potential government which is already anticipating with its internet communication policy the suppression forecast in the article?

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