They're back! The digital prankster group known as the Syrian Electronic Army apparently managed to briefly hijack major social media accounts belonging to CNN Thursday.
Five tweets which obviously didn't belong on @CNN were posted to the network's Twitter account Thursday afternoon. After crediting the attack to the SEA, the hacker went on to speculate a link between Al Qaeda and the CIA, and called the president "Obama Bin Laden the lord of terror."
Meanwhile, journalist Matthew Keys received a series of images from SEA hacker "Th3Pr0" revealing the group apparently gained access through a compromised account on the social media management service Hootsuite. (Via The Desk)
CNN later admitted some of their social media accounts had been compromised, and fake posts had appeared on their Twitter feed and several Facebook pages. "The posts were deleted within minutes and the accounts have since been secured."
The SEA has gone after media giants before — in August 2013 the group made headlines after it attacked The Washington Post, Time and, yes, CNN. But this time, there seems to be a specific purpose behind their assault.
The group's official Twitter account posted a series of tweets taking credit for the hack Thursday evening. They accuse CNN of "viciously lying. ... present[ing] unverifiable information as truth, adopting a report by Qataris against #Syria."
This is likely a reference to CNN's recent story on a new report claiming Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime is systematically torturing and killing detainees. That report was funded by the government of Qatar. (Via CNN)
The CNN hack is the SEA's second high-profile attack this month. Earlier in January the group gained access to Microsoft's internal email and proceeded to wreck havoc on the company's social media accounts.