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NPR's 'the two-way' blog and 5 Twitter accounts hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

Published: Monday, April 15 2013 10:00 p.m. MDT

Late Monday night on April 15, NPR's "the two-way" blog and five NPR Twitter accounts were apparently hacked by an entity calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army.

At least three blog posts were change to read simply, "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here."

A twitter handle naming itself the official SEA claimed credit for the attacks.

NPR acknowledged the hacking of the two-way blog, NPR.org and some NPR Twitter accounts in a statement.

"Late Monday evening, several stories on the NPR website were defaced with headlines and text that said Syrian Electronic Army Was Here.' Some of these stories were distributed to and appeared on NPR member station websites," the statement said. "We have made the necessary corrections to those stories on NPR.org and are continuing to work with our Member Stations. Similar statements were posted on several NPR Twitter accounts. Those Twitter accounts have been addressed. We are closely monitoring the situation."

SEA posted a screen shot to Twitter that appears to be of an email sent to NPR staff by Mark Stencel, managing editor of digital news.

"Colleagues: We are aware that access to our publishing system appears to have been compromised and several stories were hacked. We are taking steps to fix the stories that have been vandalized."

A seemingly related Twitter account, @The Shadow_SEA, also was actively promoting the apparent hacking.

The attack was noticed quickly by some Twitter users, including members of our news staff.

The SEA's efforts also appear to have affected NPR affiliate sites, including KQED.org in northern California and, according to Daily Kos, WFAE in Charlotte, N.C.

According to NPR affiliate WMRA.org, "public radio station websites from New England to the deep South briefly showed odd web 'news' articles saying only, 'Syrian Electronic Army Was Here.'"

Thease attacks appear to be part of a broader strategy to get attention for the SEA, which supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The group allegedly infiltrated the websites or Twitter accounts of Human Rights Watch, the BBC and Reuters.

Last month The Washington Post reported that the SEA appeared to have hacked the Human Rights Watch website and Twitter feed.

"All Your reports are FALSE !! Stop lying!!!," read one entry posted during the assault.

The Associated Press reported in March that in addition to gaining temporary control of several BBC Twitter accounts, the SEA previously has targeted both Al-Jazeera and Reuters.

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