Reuters hacked, fake news posted

Reuters hacked, fake news posted

Summary: Thomson Reuters has confirmed the Reuters News blogging platform was hacked and that a false interview with a Syrian rebel leader was posted. The Reuters blogging website has been taken down to fix the problem.

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Update on August 5 - Reuters Twitter account hacked

Reuters hacked, fake news posted

Thomson Reuters was hacked on Friday. The publication's blogging platform was breached and a false story about an alleged interview with a Syrian rebel leader was posted, the company has confirmed.

"Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday," the company said in a statement. "Our blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists. Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted."

The phony interview was with Riad al-Assad, the head of the Free Syrian Army, who apparently said his forces were pulling back from the northern province of Aleppo after repeated battles with the Syrian Army. As far as we know, this is completely false.

The Free Syrian Army issued a statement saying that the interview never took place and blamed President Bashar al-Assad's government for planting the story. "(It) was fabricated by the regime, as it seems the news agency was hacked," the statement said.

While Reuters confirmed the hack, the firm said it does not yet have any information on the party responsible for the fake news. The publication took down its blogging platform on Friday to fix the problem. A quick check shows that blogs.reuters.com is indeed down at the time of writing.

We've seen this happen before: Al Arabiya Facebook Page hacked, fake Syria news posted. A Facebook Page is one thing, however, and a major website like Reuters is a completely different one.

The ongoing massive uprising in Syria began in January 2011, as part of the wider Arab Spring. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are Alawite Muslims.

Protesters are demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, want to overthrow his government, and are looking to end nearly five decades of Ba'ath Party rule. In response, the Syrian government has deployed the Syrian Army, resulting in the death of more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers. Many more have been injured, and tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned.

Update on August 5 - Reuters Twitter account hacked

See also:

Topics: Security, Government, Outage

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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5 comments
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  • That's a black eye for Reuters

    Is any one in charge of vetting stories at Reuters?
    RickLively
    • Did you know Loverock Davidson left his calling card in the hack

      compile code
      Over and Out
  • Hardly relevant

    1. These days, how do you distinguish between "real" and "fake" news? If something is reported, it's PR, not news.

    2. More importantly: why would news even matter for anyone who is not directly involved into what is being reported?
    temporarily_unavailable
  • What else is new?

    Fake news on Reuters? How could they tell?
    Robert Hahn
  • Demonstrates Capability of Syrian Cyber Ops

    This goes to show how good the Syrian pro government h4ck3rs are.
    f0real