Apparent Cyber Attack Hits New York Times

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Published August 27, 2013

| FOXBusiness

Just two weeks after denying a 90-minute outage was caused by a cyber attack, The New York Times said on Tuesday that new website problems were likely the result of an "external malicious attack." 

The incident underscores how American media outlets have become prime targets for hackers, along with the websites of banks, stock exchanges and retailers. 

A spokesperson from the Times said in an e-mail to FOX Business: "We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is that this is most likely the result of a malicious external attack."

In a Tweet at 4:23 p.m. ET, the newspaper said it is "experiencing technical difficulties" and "working on fully restoring the site." 

Several attempts in New York City to access the Gray Lady’s website were unsuccessful shortly after 3 p.m. ET. 

However, security experts said the site didn't appear to be completely down and by 4 p.m. the site responded normally for some users while others complained of continued issues. 

And a Tweet sent at 6:16 p.m. ET, the paper directed all customers still experiencing issues with the site to visit news.nytco.com.

Shares of New York Times Co. (NYT) dropped 2.85% to $11.59 on Tuesday, compared with a 1.59% decline on the S&P 500.

The paper’s website experienced a 90-minute outage on August 14, which it blamed on internal issues but some security professionals said the incident suggested a cyber attack. The Times said the outage “occurred within seconds of a scheduled maintenance update” and was not the result of an attack.

Shortly after the Times disclosed its online issues on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal announced on Twitter that its paywall would come down, allowing users free access to the paper. The Journal, which is owned by former FOX Business parent News Corp. (NWSA), made a similar move two weeks ago.

Tuesday evening it appeared hackers had vandalized the domain registration for Twitter.com by changing the contact email to sea@.sy – an allusion to the Syrian Electronic Army’s website. The domain still points to the appropriate servers, and it’s not clear why whomever hacked the registration wouldn’t have done something more damaging. A spokesperson for Twitter told FOX Business the site was "looking into this."

A separate security source, who requested anonymity, was looking into the matter Tuesday evening and hinted a possible link between this Twitter hacking and the Times.

And indeed, Tuesday evening the Syrian Electronic Army took to Twitter to take credit for its various hacking jobs, including both the Times and Twitter.

Just a day after the original Times outage, The Washington Post revealed it was the victim of cyber attack as readers were redirected to the site of the Syrian Electronic Army. That hacker group previously took credit for breaking into the Twitter account of The Associated Press and sending out a false tweet about explosions at the White House that spooked Wall Street.

Last week Amazon.com (AMZN) suffered website problems of its own, blocking access for some customers to the world's largest online retailer. Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos earlier this month agreed to acquire The Washington Post for $250 million. 

FOX Business's Adam Samson contributed to this report.

URL

http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/08/27/new-york-times-website-runs-into-new-trouble/