x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Pro-Assad group blamed for news site hacking

Alarabiya.net, part of the MBC group, has claimed it was hacked by a group supportive of the Syrian government.

DUBAI // An online Arabic news portal yesterday claimed it had been hacked by a group supportive of the Syrian government.

A false story was posted on alarabiya.net, part of the MBC group, alleging that Maj Gen Hamad bin Ali Al Atia, the Qatari Armed Forces' Chief of Staff, had led a military coup in Qatar.

The story, which was removed from the website, also featured a stock image of Gen Al Atia dressed in full uniform.

A subsequent article published on the website denying the report was headlined: "Al Assad's goons visit alarabiya.net and target Qatar".

Al Arabiya believe the hackers belonged to the Syrian Cyber Army.

They said the group attacked the webpage as retaliation for a news story about a call by the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to arm the Syrian rebels.

The Syrian Cyber Army is thought to be behind the hack because of a previous attack by the same group on Al Arabiya's Facebook account last week.

According to Nasser Al Sarami, head of public relations at Al Arabiya, there have been numerous cyber attacks on the web page and television channels.

"A cyber war against Al Arabiya is currently waging. We have attacks on our Facebook and our TV frequencies," he said.

Mr Al Sarami said the hack happened early yesterday morning.

"Our tech team always encounter attacks and dealt with it immediately," he said, adding that the hackers also left their signature on the page.