Reuters Blogs Hacked with Fake Story About Syrian Rebel Retreat

The Atlantic Wire
Reuters Blogs Hacked with Fake Story About Syrian Rebel Retreat
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Reuters Blogs Hacked with Fake Story About Syrian Rebel Retreat

Update (4:13 p.m. EDT): Reuters blogs are back up, including Goldfarb's, which mentions nothing about a Syria rebel retreat.

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Update (2:25 p.m. EDT): Reuters posted its own story on the hack, which includes this detail: "The Free Syrian Army issued a statement denying that any such interview had taken place, and blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for the false posting."

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Original: Reuters became involved in the Syrian conflict in a way it didn't intend to on Friday, when someone hacked into its blogging site and published a fake post purporting to quote a Syrian rebel leader saying his forces were withdrawing from Aleppo. Reuters indicated several incorrect stories went out, but the one post we know of ran on Jeffrey Goldfarb's blog, which usually covers economics and finance. The newswire hasn't said who it thinks is responsible for the hack, but the computer hacking outfit with the most prominent track record in this conflict is Syrian Electronic Army, loyal to the Syrian regime and known for breaking into foreign sites it perceives as sympathetic to the rebels. Reuters' main news site is reporting that the Syrian army is mounting a huge offensive against the rebels in Aleppo, but that the rebels are still there. Reuters entire blogging site is down, but thanks to Google's cache, we can still see the phony post, a partial screenshot of which is below: 

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Reuters explained its situation in a series of tweets we've condensed into one paragraph below:

Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday. Our blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists. We are working to address the problem. A false blog posting, purporting to carry an interview with the head of the Free Syrian Army Riad al-Assad was illegally posted on a Reuters journalists blog page on reuters.com on friday.

We've reached out to Reuters for further details on what happened, and will update our report when we hear from them.

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