Financial Times Becomes the Latest Media Site Hacked Over Syria

'Do You Want to Know the Reality of the Syrian 'Rebels'?' Hackers Ask

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The Financial Times's blog and some of its social media accounts were hacked today, with messages appearing on the sites relating to the conflict in Syria.

The FT Trading Room account on Twitter posted two messages. One said "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here," and the other "Do you want to know the reality of the Syrian 'Rebels'? Just watch this video." The link showed a man cutting the heart from a corpse as an unidentified voice says "I swear in the name of god that we will eat from your hearts and livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog."

The attack on the Financial Times accounts again highlights users' concerns that it's too easy to compromise social-media channels such as Twitter.

"We have now locked those accounts and are grateful for Twitter's help on this," Robert Shrimsley, managing editor for, said on the newspaper's website. "Unfortunately this is an increasingly common issue for major news organizations."

Last month, hackers hijacked the Associated Press's Twitter account, sending stock markets down 1% in a matter of seconds by posting a false claim that President Obama had been injured in an attack on the White House.

"Twitter's information-technology security is still weak even though it has become an official communication tool for many companies," said Stefano Zanero, an assistant professor in Politecnico di Milano University's computer engineering department. "This is why it would need, for example, a two-factor authentication system based on a second password sent to users' mobile phones."

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, said the company doesn't "comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons."

The FT, owned by Pearson, said that some of its employees had received phishing e-mails in the days before the attack, designed to trick them into revealing information.

On the newspaper's @ftmedia Twitter page, a video clip -- since deleted -- was posted with the text "Jabnet A-Nosra terrorists executed innocent citizens #SEA #Syria." In the video, a masked person appears, reading from a paper before shooting about nine people kneeling blindfolded in the back of their heads. The gunman is flanked by two people carrying black flags with a white motif.

The Onion, the parody news outlet, on May 8 posted a summary of how it was attacked by a "Syrian Electronic Army." The hack involved tricking employees to click on links to fake versions of familiar-looking websites that passed on login credentials. These credentials could then be used to access the organization's social-media accounts.