The Syrian Electronic Army, that is.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), also known as the Syrian Electronic Soldiers, is a collection of pro-government computer hackers aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Using denial of service attacks, defacement, and other methods, it mainly targets political opposition groups and western websites, including news organizations and human rights groups. The Syrian Electronic Army is the first public, virtual army in the Arab world to openly launch cyber attacks on its opponents,
A high-ranking representative for the SEA told the Daily Dot that “We are just Syrian youths who want to defend their country against the media campaign that is full of lies and fabricated news reports” about Syria. The SEA's tone and style vary widely from the serious and openly political to ironic statements intended as often critical or pointed humor: SEA had "Exclusive: Terror is striking the #USA and #Obama is Shamelessly in Bed with Al-Qaeda" tweeted from the twitter account of 60 Minutes, and in July 2012 posted "Do you think Saudi and Qatar should keep funding armed gangs in Syria in order to topple the regime? #Syria," from Al Jazeera's twitter account before the message was removed. In another attack, members of SEA used the BBC Weather Channel twitter account to post the headline, "Saudi weather station down due to head on-collision with camel." One commentator notes that "[SEA] volunteers might include Syrian diaspora; some of their hacks have used colloquial English and reddit memes. After Washington Post reporter Max Fisher called their jokes unfunny, one hacker associated with the group told a Vice interview “haters gonna hate.”"
The SEA claims responsibility for defacing or otherwise compromising hundreds of websites that it contends spread news hostile to the Syrian government. These include news websites such as BBC News, the Associated Press, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Washington Post, Syrian satellite broadcaster Orient TV, and Dubai-based al-Arabia TV, as well as rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch. Other SEA targets include VoIP apps, such as Viber, and Tango.
It also posts pro-government messages on Facebook, and launches spamming campaigns to spread its messages. The Facebook pages of President Barack Obama and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy are among those that have been targeted by spam campaigns.
An attack on the Associated Press news agency, in which tweets falsely claimed the White House had been bombed and President Barack Obama injured, led to a US$136.5 billion dip on the S&P 500 index on 23 April 2013.
The group reportedly uses phishing tactics to gain sufficient information to compromise accounts. In the first week of May 2013, the Twitter account of The Onion was compromised by the SEA, after a phishing attack targeting The Onion employees led to its account being compromised.
In addition to the high-profile defacement and attacks on public targets, the SEA also carries out surveillance to discover the identities and location of Syrian rebels. This electronic monitoring also reportedly extends to foreign aid workers.