Citizen Lab Senior Researcher Helmi Noman was interviewed by the International Business Times regarding the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) and its attack of several international news sites. The SEA is a group of hackers in support of Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad’s regime, known to target opposition political group.
The most recent cyber-attack it carried out was directed at news sites such as The Independent, the Evening Standard, and Italy’s La Repubblica. Past attacks have included the New York Times and The Guardian, amongst others. The SEA claims that the purpose of these attacks is to ensure that “fabricated news” against the Assad regime is countered effectively.
Helmi Noman has documented the activities of the SEA since 2011, and reported his findings as part of the OpenNet Initiative project. He explained that Syria has become “the first Arab country to have a public Internet Army hosted on its national networks to launch cyber attacks on its enemies.”
The primary method employed by the organization is phishing, which involves using malicious emails to install malware on computers belonging to the employees of the media outlets being targeted.