SAN JOSE, Calif. – The New York Times’ website was inaccessible Tuesday afternoon in its second major disruption this month, with a group calling itself “The Syrian Electronic Army” claiming responsibility.
Visitors who visited the NYTimes.com website got error messages, although the page remained up on its Internet protocol address, 126.96.36.199 . Many of the site’s links also didn’t work because they relied on the NYTimes.com domain name. The cause was unknown, but the behaviour was consistent with a hacking attack that hijacks control of a site from its administrators.
Times officials did not immediately return phone and email messages for comment. In a Twitter message, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the cause was a “malicious external attack.”
Two weeks ago, the Times’ website suffered an outage that the company blamed on a server problem.
The Syrian Electronic Army has taken credit for a string of Web attacks on media targets it sees as sympathetic to Syria’s rebels.
The group said in a Twitter message Tuesday that it also took over Twitter and Huffington Post U.K.
Twitter spokeswoman Christina Thiry said the company is looking into the claims.
Michael Fey, a chief technology officer at Santa Clara, Calif. based cybersecurity firm McAfee, said Tuesday that as long as media organizations play a critical role as influencers and critics, they will continue to be targets of cyber-attacks.
He said the battle tactics are broad, from denial of service attacks, to targeted attacks using social engineering and to deploying information-gathering Trojans.
“Regardless of technology or tactics deployed, we should expect to see more of these attacks,” he said.
FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer at the Washington D.C. headquarters said the agency has no comment on the attack.