A Syrian hacker group breached a declassified U.S. Army web site on Monday, officials revealed at a news briefing late in the day.
U.S. military officials confirmed that Syrian government supporters hacked into the website, uploading various propaganda in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before the site crashed.
The hackers, who identified themselves online as being linked to the “Syrian Electronic Army,” also redirected visitors to a page that championed the Syrian regime.
It is not clear whether United States national defense was compromised in the breach. Thus far, the Obama administration has denied reports that internal databases were compromised – but just to be sure, the site was temporarily shut down. It has since been returned to the Internet.
“Today an element of the Army.mil service provider’s content was compromised,” Army Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost said in a statement. “After this came to our attention, the Army took appropriate preventive measures to ensure there was no breach of Army data by taking down the website temporarily.”
The SEA has claimed in the past to have breached news web sites such as The New York Times, CBS News, The Washington Post and BBC.
The group, which launched in 2011, states its mission is to attack the enemies of the Syrian government, mainly those who “fabricate” stories about the Syrian civil war. SEA wrote on its web site in 2011 that it is not officially affiliated with the government but is a group of Syrian youths.
A separate cyber attack traced to China announced several days ago, involved hackers who penetrated the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Interior. The personal data of some four million federal employees, past and present, were stolen in the breach of that computer system.
Earlier in the year, the personal data of more than 100,000 U.S. taxpayers was stolen after the Internal Revenue Service network was hacked in a massive cyber attack traced to Russia.