Published August 15, 2013
The Washington Post revealed it was the victim of a cyber attack on Thursday, underscoring how hackers continue to set their sights on American media outlets.
The disclosure by the leading Washington newspaper comes just a day after the website of The New York Times was knocked offline for about 90 minutes. The Times blamed the lengthy outage on scheduled maintenance, although some security professionals believe the problems had the hallmarks of a cyber attack.
The Post published an editor’s note at 11:16 a.m. ET on Thursday saying its website was “hacked today, with readers on certain stories being redirected to the site of the Syrian Electronic Army.” The newspaper said it is “working to resolve the issue.”
Representatives from the Post didn't immediately respond to a request for further details.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of hackers that support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and took credit for an April hack into the Twitter account of The Associated Press that falsely warned of two explosions in the White House that injured President Obama. The AP hack spooked Wall Street, causing the destruction of an estimated $136 billion in equity market value.
The Post wasn’t the only company hit by online troubles this week. J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) told FOX Business on Thursday that Chase.com “experienced some issues with (its) website this morning,” although the bank declined to comment on what caused the issue.
In the past, J.P. Morgan and other banks like PNC Financial (PNC) have been hit by cyber attacks that slowed or blocked online access for customers.
The website of the Times suffered an outage at about 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday that lasted until about 1 p.m. ET.
A source told FOX Business the Times was the victim of a cyber attack and that the newspaper was huddling with outside security professionals to assess the threat.
However, the Times said the outage was a result of an “internal issue” and later added that it was a “failure during regular maintenance of NYTimes.com and not the result of a cyberattack.”
The Wall Street Journal took down its paywall for two hours on Wednesday, perhaps in response to the website issues of its archrival. The Journal is owned by former FOX Business parent News Corp. (NWSA), which recently spun off its television and film assets into 21st Century Fox (FOXA).
Earlier this year, the Times revealed that Chinese hackers breached the newspaper’s computer systems and broke into the email account of a reporter who wrote a critical article about the country. The Journal made a similar disclosure this year.
Shares of the Washington Post Co. (WPO) were off 1.5% to $575.00 late Thursday morning, compared with a 1.14% decline on the S&P 500.
Last week, Washington Post Co. shocked the media industry by disclosing plans to unload its publishing assets, including its iconic namesake newspaper, to Amazon.com (AMZN) founder and CEO Jeffrey Bezos for $250 million.
FOX Business reporters Adam Samson, Jennifer Booton and Matthew Rocco contributed to this report.