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Syrian Electronic Army denies cyber attack on hockey forum

The logo for the Security Lions Hackers, a group with similar motives to the Syrian Electronic Army. (Photo: SLH)

The Syrian Electronic Army is denying an accusation in a news report that claims the group hacked a college hockey forum Saturday evening.

The website of the United States College Hockey Organization was briefly replaced Sunday evening with a message supportive of the Syrian government and its leader, Bashar al-Assad.

Conservative news website reported Monday morning that the Syrian Electronic Army was responsible for the “random hacking” of the forum, claiming that the attack bore hallmarks “similar to other work by the SEA.”

A hacker who goes by the name Th3 Pr0 told The Desk Monday afternoon that the group was not responsible for the attack.

Instead, the responsible party appears to be a fringe group called the Security Lions Hackers. The SLH is similar to the SEA: Both are groups operated by hacktivists that execute a pro-Syria agenda by carrying out cyber attacks against western websites.

The main difference between the two groups: The SEA concentrates its efforts on western media organizations like AFP, Thomson Reuters and the New York Times, while SLH targets websites indiscriminately.

The SEA carries out its cyber attacks by “phishing” unsuspected journalists and IT personnel at news organizations. The group sends bogus emails with links that appear to point to a web article; instead the link goes to a fake login website where email credentials are stolen.

Those email credentials are then used to exploit various social media profiles associated with a journalist or news organization.

The SLH, on the other hand, took advantage of a “security defect” when it compromised the College Hockey Organization’s fan forum on Sunday. According to Tonwhall, which is still erroneously blaming the SEA for the hack, the security defect has been fixed.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).