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BBC Twitter Accounts Hacked By Pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army 129

Posted by timothy
from the revolutionaries-in-the-amphitheatre dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "Following BBC Weather on Twitter seems like it wouldn't throw up too many surprises — possibly news of the odd blizzard now and again. But today, the account's 60,000 followers got a little more than 'chance of a light drizzle' when the pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army hacked the account, along with a couple of other BBC accounts, in an apparent protest at what it sees as reports which don't show the Syrian regime in the best light." Also at the BBC itself.
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BBC Twitter Accounts Hacked By Pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army

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  • ... like that's going to change anyone's mind.

    • Yeah, even clever twitter hacks that post satire of the kind of thing the original account posts doesn't sway those already in agreement with it. This blandly shouting about how wrong the BBC is is just boring. It's a phone call to twitter HQ and a password reset away from being resolved too.

    • by digitig (1056110)
      It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows...
  • Assad (Score:5, Funny)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:58AM (#43235469)
    What's not to love about a genocidal dictator? He's just misunderstood.
    • Yeah really, he didn't even go to Harvard... Savage!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        He was an opthalmologist in the UK before his brother died and his father recalled him to groom him as his successor. His FATHER was the genocidal dictator, not him. His main constraint was that he was heading a regime dedicated to protect all non-Sunni minorities in Syria, and they knew that if they loosened their grip on power, their country would see an upheaval similar to, in fact worse than, Egypt. This is easily borne out by the fact that as the rebels have captured cities like Aleppo and Homs, the

        • "Exposing hypocrisy" has had exactly zero effect for over 10000 years, merely a diversion while the dirty business continues. The players are irrelevant, the system is eternal.

    • Re:Assad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:22PM (#43235801)

      I think one of the main issues in this media conflict is that the general overall view being put over is one of "Assad" vs "The opposition fighters", with a lot of western media glossing over the fact that most of the opposition fighters are no better than Assad. Assad is not someone I would ever wish to support, but the same goes for the vast majority of those who are fighting his regime at the moment - it really is "the lesser of two evils", and somewhat of a decision no one ever would want to make.

      • if the opposition fighters, all of them, were radical hardcore fundamentalists (which isn't true, even of the religious fighters), this would still be better than Assad the butcher

        in this world, you don't get to pick between absolute evil and shining pure good

        in the real world, on any political choice, in every country, forever, you get to pick between

        1. shit, and
        2. slightly better than shit

        but unfortunately this doesn't stop certain fools from judging all political forces from the point of view of idealism

      • I think it's difficult to argue that Assad is the "lesser of two evils". People seem to have a very short attention span for the history here. The facts on the ground are that Assad was murdering unarmed civilian protesters for quite some time before they got fed up and started fighting back. Now it's a war, and war is ugly on all sides. I won't dispute that there's likely to be war criminals on both sides (even if we keep to the facile "two-sides" narrative), but people seem to forget that the "who started
        • Assad was killing people who opposed his regime by the dozens. And you'd have to be actively protesting against the government to be targeted.

          al-Nusra front is killing people who belong to the "wrong" religious group by the thousands, and they don't only target those actively opposing them, but anyone who professes the wrong faith, if it can be proven in any way. If they actually take over the entire country, we may well be talking about millions there (Alawites alone number 2.5 million in Syria).

          No, I don'

          • I'd agree with your assessment. My comment was directed mostly at the 'in defence of Assad' tenor of many of the postings I'm seeing – as though the other players had anything to do with an objective appraisal of the man and his responsibilities. In the context of war and other atrocities, relativism and talk of 'lesser evils' is, I think, a counterproductive mode of thinking. Of course, I'll freely admit that I don't have a solution to offer as far as the practicalities of resolving the situation are
            • I think the post to which you originally replied was going from a different angle - that Syria needs a dictatorship to prevent tyranny of the majority that would result in a massacre of minorities by that majority, and that maintaining such a tyranny necessarily requires some amount of oppression - and that Assad was exerting just that amount without excesses. The first part of this argument I can tentatively buy into. I don't like it, but it would be naive to believe that democracy is always a better choic

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Genocidal"? Evidence please.

      I know this is hard for you Americans to understand, but this guy isn't Saddam. In fact he's a Western-educated opthamologist who worked in a London hospital until the death of his older brother forced him to give up his career and return to Syria to become President. His efforts to liberalise Syrian politics have been rewarded by a Western-backed insurgency, which you have been manipulated into supporting.

      Every day you will see another story making the case for war in Syria. Ye

      • by mjr167 (2477430)
        I'm not sure why you think that being western educated or working in a hospital precludes being a genocidal sociopath... In fact I've heard that medicine is a good profession for sociopaths to go into, the other being politics.
      • by OakDragon (885217)

        And now they've hacked Slashdot!

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        "Genocidal"? Evidence please.

        I know this is hard for you Americans to understand, but this guy isn't Saddam. In fact he's a Western-educated opthamologist who worked in a London hospital until the death of his older brother forced him to give up his career and return to Syria to become President. His efforts to liberalise Syrian politics have been rewarded by a Western-backed insurgency, which you have been manipulated into supporting.

        Every day you will see another story making the case for war in Syria. Yesterday, Assad used chemical weapons (against his own soldiers....). Today Assad hacked the BBC (again, against his own interest). Who knows what he will do tomorrow? Perhaps he will find some Weapons of Mass Destruction that can be launched in under 45 minutes? Maybe he will be Linked To Al Quaeda? Such fun. Such fun.

        I agree. His father was a Saddam. He isn't. As for this civil war, the ones using chemical weapons are his enemies, not him.

        Like I pointed out above, he did try to liberalize Syria, but he knew that there were limits to which he could go. This is borne out by events in other Arab countries such as Egypt, and in Syria itself. Right now, the Syrian rebels are busy massacreing non-Sunnis - something they would have done had Assad gone through with ALL his reforms. Problem in Muslim countries is that t

      • by g8oz (144003)

        Lets see what Human Rights Watch has to say:

    • He was already on twitter @oldholborn :D
  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:59AM (#43235481) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what the truth of the situation is in Syria, but I know that:

    (a) Western media seems to present a similar point of view no matter which source you're watching/reading

    (b) Western governments seem to agree with the media

    (c) There are few opposing voices in government or media

    For this reason, it means that anyone with a contrary viewpoint is facing a giant media bloc composed of the most powerful governments and media producers in history.

    Hacking is an equalizer. With relatively few people, and relatively low investment, it allows hackers to use the notoriety of the hack to present their point of view.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tokencode (1952944)
      Or the other possibility is that what is being said in western media is mostly the truth. Al-Jazeera is hardly the "Western Media" and confirms most of the reports shown in western media regarding Syria, Ass-ad (I presume this translates to "head ass") is just getting desperate.
      • by Looker_Device (2857489) * on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:16PM (#43235703)

        Al-Jazeera is hardly the "Western Media"

        No, but they are generally pretty pro-radical Islam, and most of the Arab Spring rebels to date (incl. those in Syria) seem to be way more interested in instituting Sharia and putting Muslim Brotherhood politicians in power than in establishing pro-Western democracies or giving people more freedom.

        • Which just turns the question around the other way. If the anti-Assad rebels are radical Islam and anti-western, why would the western powers be pursuing a defamation campaign against Assad?

          • f the anti-Assad rebels are radical Islam and anti-western, why would the western powers be pursuing a defamation campaign against Assad?

            Because the West is, by and large, oblivious to what's really going on. Western intelligence agencies still seem more geared towards the Cold War than towards really understanding the Middle East. They see Assad as an ally of Russia and somewhat anti-Israeli and label him an enemy, Then they see a rebellion against him and make the false assumption that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," ignoring the very strong radical Islamist bent of these (and other Arab Spring) rebels. They mistake a pro-traditional

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Because most Westerners don't want them to become Westerners, we want them to have a say in what they choose.

        • by g8oz (144003)

          They are not pro-radical Islam they are pro Muslim Brotherhood. There is a difference. The Brotherhood are purveyors of political Islam but they are hardly radical. Not compared to the wild eyed Salafi/Wahabbi types anyways.

          • Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the most prominent Islamist faction among the rebels today, is specifically affiliated with al-Qaeda, not Muslim Brotherhood. And they are Salafi.

        • so it's "radical" even if alot of the population supports it?

    • by elloGov (1217998)
      Wish I had points to mod you up. Great point!
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:16PM (#43235709) Homepage Journal

      I've tried watching RT's coverage of things, and if you thing Western media is biased, you ain't seen nothing yet. They called the uprising against (unelected) president Assad an anti-democratic rebellion payed for by the U.S. over a year ago.

      And during the presidential election(after the primaries), they treated Ron Paul as a front-running candidate. It was bizarre. Beyond bizarre.

      Watching Al Jazeera or BBC gives you a clear sense of a non-american perspective on things, some bias but on the whole attempting to report honestly, but RT is like Cold War era Pravda in video form.

      • RT IS the new version of Pravda. It's the officially sanctioned russian TV channel. As such, it provides great insight into how the Russian government is looking at the world. This also means though that it is a terrible source of news for anything that doesn't match the Kremlin's narrative, either inside or outside of Russia. I always laugh when I hear some people recommend RT as a great news alternative to something like CNN or New York Times.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          it provides great insight into how the Russian government is looking at the world.

          No. What it does provide is great insight into how the Russian government wants it's people to look at the world.

          • Not really. Russians don't watch RT; they watch the Russian language TV channels. RT is propaganda targeted at foreigners.

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              My real point still stands. In no way does it's output reflect what their government is thinking. It only reflects what they desire us to see.

        • RT is, of course, a propaganda vehicle, but it doesn't make it useless. Best propaganda is uncomfortable truth, and you'll see a lot of that on RT. Of course, you will often see it out of context, or with important bits omitted etc. But to fill in those parts, you have your usual news sources. The purpose of RT is not to be your primary channel of news. It's to bring to your attention some things that mainstream media in your country chooses to gloss over. It will, of course, only bring up such things that

      • I've tried watching RT's coverage of things, and if you thing Western media is biased, you ain't seen nothing yet

        I've been touting RT.com as a good source of foreign news for a while. It seems to carry a lot of stories that Western sources don't even bother to mention.

        One concrete recent example is the Gitmo hunger strike, which has been going on for over a month and only in the last couple of days has been picked up elsewhere.

        All news media is biased. The BBC website is better than most, but has been pushing a pro-rebel Syria view despite the evidence that they are just as cruel and authoritarian as the Asaad governm

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Alternatively, hacking what is largely considered to be a reputable news organization is going to make you look like a bunch of dicks.
    • If this is the government paying to push its propaganda, and the rebels (terrorists if you sympathize with the government) don't, then that's not equalizing. That's yet another media form being dominated by money and power, and smaller voices drowned out.
    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Hacking is an equalizer. With relatively few people, and relatively low investment, it allows hackers to use the notoriety of the hack to present their point of view.

      Great. So what was the message? Because I still seem to have missed it.

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coniferous (1058330) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:07PM (#43235593) Homepage
    >in an apparent protest at what it sees as reports which don't show the Syrian regime in the best light

    Yes, because hacking people makes you look that much better. /s
    • Also, if Assad wanted balanced coverage, maybe he should have let reporters into the country to cover things. Stonewalling and only providing "official reports" makes it look like you have something to hide.

      • Perhaps if they'd tried not shelling & shooting reporters the media bias might be different :)
        • If you don't shell and shoot reporters, who are you going to shell and shoot? I mean besides your own disenfranchised people.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      To me the tweets don't look like what you'd expect a hardline regime to post. It looks false flag, but not even serious false flag, just someone doing a prank pretending to be pro-Assad. Look at the tweets quoted from the linked BBC article:

      Alongside the standard tweets from the weather feed such as "'last night was chilly" some more bizarre comments began emerging.

      They included: "Saudi weather station down due to head-on collision with camel."

      Another read: "Chaotic weather forecast for Lebanon as the government decides to distance itself from the Milky Way."

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:13PM (#43235683)
    You want to be shown in a better light? How about you stop murdering civilians, oppressing those that don't support you (pretty much anyone outside your sect/tribe), or using chemical weapons. If you don't do bad things, then the BBC won't report on you doing bad things.
    • For a second there, I though you were talking about the US.
    • The problem is that both sides do everything that you've listed, but for some reason, Western media focuses on the atrocities committed by Syrian govt forces, and downplays rebels doing the same.

      Not that it's anything new, really. We've seen the same exact thing in Bosnia, Chechnya and Kosovo before. Everyone knows Srebrenica massacre and the plight of Albanian refugees from Kosovo, but how many have heard of, say, Gospic or Operation Storm? There is plenty of material on the war crimes committed against lo

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:27PM (#43235845) Homepage

    "A series of tweets about fake weather conditions in Middle Eastern countries began appearing on Thursday afternoon."

    It seems like they must have hacked my Weather Channel app quite some time ago, too.

  • "Increasingly experts are now calling for Twitter to step up security and offer two-factor authentication, essentially a disposable, single-use password for its users.

    Jesus Christ BBC. Get some "experts" who know the difference between a One Time Password and Two-Factor Auth; I am thoroughly offended by your reporting.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      "Increasingly experts are now calling for Twitter to step up security and offer two-factor authentication, essentially a disposable, single-use password for its users.

      Jesus Christ BBC. Get some "experts" who know the difference between a One Time Password and Two-Factor Auth; I am thoroughly offended by your reporting.

      I also LOL at the BBC's lack of security knowledge. I'll bet they got h4k0r3ed because they had a dictionary word password.

      It's embarrassing for them but it can be fixed with no lasting harm done.

  • Only one message for this from me: Go fuck yourself, Assad. We know what you're up to.
    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Only one message for this from me: Go fuck yourself, Assad. We know what you're up to.

      Only we don't. We only know what's been reported by the mainstream media and so far that's been reports of Syrian rebels getting all kinds of aid from various places to help them attack their government. We really don't know who these rebels are or why they are attacking their governments.

      This is the same kind of reporting that had far too many people convinced that Iraq had WMDs that could destroy half of Europe within 30 minutes of Saddam giving the order.

      • by hazah (807503)
        You may not want to see it, but you do. After some time on this planet it becomes appearant without the need to be spoon fed information. This is history repeating itself, and non of this is really that exotic.
        • by 1s44c (552956)

          I like the details. Who is involved in this and what do they want?

          I could assume the details but I don't know enough about Syria to make a reasonable guess.

          • by hazah (807503)
            Have you ever lived anywhere in that region? I have. Same shit, different pile.
            • by 1s44c (552956)

              Have you ever lived anywhere in that region? I have. Same shit, different pile.

              No, I never have. Tell me what it's like because I will listen.

              I want to know what's going on in the world and the only thing I can be really sure of is that the mainstream media is lying about significant world events.

              • by hazah (807503)
                It's really very simple. The whole region's culture is fundamentally tribal in its nature. Differening tribes are squabling over percieved values. Often values overlap because historically it's the same people (semites). These conflicts had been in existence over thousands of years. The British Empire, and then later the United States didn't help much, but that's after the fact and the most recent excuse for the current chain of events.
  • I get plenty of e-mails at work about my $4,000 Verizon bill or a confidential, registered e-letter that I must respond to that ends in ".pdf.exe". Tricking someone in to opening those isn't hacking.

    Yes, I know I'm picking nits, but still.
  • The BBC loves Assad AND the other maniacs.

  • Half the passwords are "godsavethequeen" and the other half are "wanker".

    Just to let the Syrian Electronic Army know,

    Huffington Post passwords are usually "iheartzlolcatz" and "password"

    Fox News passwords are ALL "nra4ever"

    CNN passwords are usually "imarriedlarryking"

  • Does anyone actually have any idea what's actually happening with Syria?

    I don't believe anything reported by the mainstream media on this, it stinks of the same type of transparent lies they spewed to get the public on side for the Iraq invasion.

  • by AaronLS (1804210)

    At it again. Oh wait, this is a different EA causing mass destruction. Sorry.

  • As a journalist myself, this made me curious because I really don't know the answer to the conundrum posed. The SEA is objecting to the way the BBC portrays the Assad regime, and that is their right to disagree. My question to them is how should the BBC portray the use of the leader of an a military outfit that uses chemical weapons on children and civilians? I can honestly say that I don't know how one would portray this in a good light. Can any SEA spokespeople enlighten me on this one?

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