Thomson Reuters is the latest victim of the Syrian Electronic Army’s hacking campaign, after the shadowy pro-Assad cyberforce obtained access to the @ThomsonReuters corporate account on Monday and began using it to tweet out political cartoons in support of the Syrian dictator.
According to the Atlantic, the Syrian Electronic Army took over the corporate Twitter account @ThomsonReuters (not to be confused with @Reuters, the media company’s much more popular news account) around 6:30 p.m. EDT on Monday. For the next 25 minutes, the account began tweeting out several political cartoons criticizing U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war and accusing Syrian rebels of war crimes.
Buzzfeed has compiled a list of all the political cartoons tweeted out by the SEA. Many contain graphic and offensive depictions of violence (albeit in cartoon form), and one features an extremely anti-Semitic portrayal of American Jews.
After a 25-minute break in posting, the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the hacking. Later, a Reuters spokesperson confirmed that it was indeed the SEA behind the attack.
"Earlier today @thomsonreuters was hacked. In this time, unauthorized individuals have posted fabricated tweets of which Thomson Reuters is not the source," a Reuters spokesperson said in a statement. "The account has been suspended and is currently under investigation."
By 8 p.m. EDT, the @ThomsonReuters account had been suspended by Twitter, presumably to straighten out the issue while preventing the SEA from posting more propaganda. By press time, the account appears to have been restored to its original owners, though its number of followers appears to have drastically decreased since the cyberattack.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of pro-Assad Syrian hackers that are responsible for a number of cyberattacks and hacking campaigns against Western news outlets. Over the past year, the SEA has claimed responsibility for hacking into the accounts of The Onion, the Associated Press, NPR, the Guardian, CBS and the BBC.