It is the second failure of the publication’s site in past two weeks. It was also hacked on Aug. 14, though the Times assured that it was an internal problem, not the result of hacking.
Tuesday’s hacker attack reportedly began at about 3 p.m. ET following an online crash of the publication’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT.
Marc Frons, chief information officer for the company, released a statement reading that the outage was “the result of a malicious external attack” and advised employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”
Frons went on, revealing that the attack has been carried by the Syrian Electronic Army “or someone trying very hard to be them.”
The SEA, a group of hackers who support Syrian President Bashar Assad, were those who have crashed prominent websites in recent months.
Matt Johansen, head of the Threat Research Center at WhiteHat Security, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he was sent to an SEA domain when he tried to go to the Times’ website.
By the way, the next day after the NY Times had been firstly hacked, the Syrian Electronic Army also took down the websites of such leading news agencies as The Washington Post, CNN and Time.
The publications also revealed that SEA hacked the Internet service of Outbrain, a content recommendation company whose software widget is embedded in their websites.
The New York Times reported that its web resource was quickly restored after the first attack, but the hackers soon disrupted it one more time.
As USA Today wrires, “trying to call up the website rendered varying experiences for readers in different places.”
However, for many site’s user the source was cmpletely unavailable while other complained that typing the website’s Internet protocol address loaded a stripped-down version of the site, with damaged link.
At the same time there were those who found that the IP address led to a version that was similar but not identical to the main site, with brocken links also.
Gunter Ollmann, chief technology officer of Internet security firm IOActive, was surprised by the news of the hacker attack, saying the site was functional at his office in Atlanta.
“The fact that I can see the site but you can’t could mean” it could be a regionally limited attack, he said.
The newspaper, which requires subscribers to pay a monthly fee to access its articles, announced Tuesday that it decided to remove temporarily all the fees for readers.
The series of the recent hacker attacks may point to the vulnerability of electronic links and communication that now underpin much of the information flow in the country.
Ollmann suggested that the hackers simply try to draw some attention targeting at the main media websites: “If the website of GE or The New York Times went down, which is going to generate more attention?”