LONDON (AP) — The Reuters news agency said Friday that one of its websites had been hacked and used to disseminate fake stories about Syria's rebel movement, the latest cyberattack to strike a media organization covering the country's civil war.
Thomson Reuters Corp. said in a statement that the agency's blogging platform had been compromised and that "fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists." The site has since been taken down, although cached versions of bogus posts are still available online.
One of the stories claimed that rebels had acquired chemical weapons from Libya and were preparing to smuggle them into Syria, while another claimed rebels were preparing to retreat to Turkey after suffering mass casualties at the hands of Syrian government forces. Both stories appeared aimed at scoring propaganda points against the rebels, who've recently made several important advances in their campaign against President Bashar Assad's regime.
There was no immediate indication of who was behind Friday's cyberattack. Both opponents and supporters of Syria's government have routinely engaged in acts of electronic sabotage, and media organizations seen by Assad loyalists as sympathetic to the rebel cause have suffered repeated attacks. Among them was Al-Jazeera, one of whose English-language Twitter feeds was recently broken into by a pro-Assad group known as the Syrian Electronic Army.
The group has recently promised a wave of attacks against what it describes as "fake revolution" websites.