Al Jazeera website restored after Al-Rashedon hack

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Screenshot of Al Jazeera homepage after being hacked Tuesday
Image: Ryan Peteranna.
Screenshot of aljazeera.net taken today
Image: Brian McNeil.

The website of international news service Al Jazeera has been restored and is working as normal, following a hack of the website by a group identifying itself as Al-Rashedon.

Wikinews was contacted Tuesday by Al Jazeera about the incident, and referred to a statement from a spokesperson for the news service saying: "Some visitors to our websites faced disruption after external DNS servers were compromised. The company that operates them quickly resolved this, though some users may continue to experience issues for a while longer. We thank our online community for their patience and support."

On the hacked webpage Al-Rashedon, a group apparently supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said they had performed this action "in response to [Al Jazeera's] position against the people and government of Syria". The Al-Rashedon statement condemned Al Jazeera for its coverage of the Syrian civil war in an Arabic language statement which the group said was "support[ive] of the armed terrorist groups and spreading false fabricated news." Al Jazeera has yet to comment about Al-Rashedon's allegations.

The hacked page contained the current Syrian flag displayed on the top left, a screenshot of the usual Al Jazeera homepage overlaid with a graphic resembling a rubber-stamped "HACK", and with a silhouette of two men sitting at a desk below it. The nature, and exact purpose, of the group is unknown..

Syria's civil war has been covered from the outset in great detail by Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, a Middle Eastern country whose government is supportive of the Syrian opposition.

Al Jazeera's English website was previously attacked in February, by a group identifying itself as the Syrian Electronic Army [SEA]. The same group accessed Al Jazeera's page on social networking website Twitter in July, posting messages critical of Syrian opposition members. The SEA also claimed responsibility for attacking the websites of Saudi Arabian news service Al Arabiya and Harvard in the US state of Massachusetts.

The website of Reuters, another news service, was reportedly hacked by Syrian government supporters in August.


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