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Journalist vs. the Syrian Electronic Army 43

New submitter Drunkulus writes "Journalist Ira Winkler has an article about his personal run-in with the Syrian Electronic Army. While admitting that the SEA has succeeded in hijacking the Wall Street Journal's Twitter accounts and defacing the RSA conference website, he calls them immature, inept script kiddies in this Computerworld column. Quoting: 'These people purport to be servants of the genocidal dictator of Syria and came together to support him, but they wasted their hack on what amounted to cyberbullying. This is not behavior that the SEA's Syrian intelligence handlers would condone. The SEA wasted an opportunity to promote its message, while divulging previously unknown attack vectors. ... I don't think that sort of immaturity will go over well with the SEA's Syrian intelligence bosses. And that could have implications for the influence of the group in the future.'"
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Journalist vs. the Syrian Electronic Army

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  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @04:05PM (#46993089)

    Ira Winkler is a journalist now? That seems odd to me. has an excellent summary of all the different smells of bullshit that emanate from this guy. [] He also got thrown out of Microsoft after conning them into hiring him to teach a class on application security where he literally used little dinosaur figures to try and teach the class. He was feckless...and this was *before* Microsoft got as good at security as they are now, before they developed their own SDLC, etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I actually question the entire story Winkler puts forth. How does he even know these guys are actually Syrian? The two people he named had vaguely middle-eastern names, but even he admits they were located outside of Syria. How does he know they're not some minor criminal enterprise or just trolls pretending to be with Syrian intelligence?

      The other question is, if these guys are actually Syrian intelligence, why even bother wasting all these resources just to attack a guy who is basically a nobody? I'm sure

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        well at this point he is basically making a story about him being attacked as a rehash of the actual happening.

        nobody gives a shit. the Syrian dictator the least(which gets us to another point, even if they were real then their "handlers" wouldn't probably have a clue either or were busy with the actual war..).

    • "he literally used little dinosaur figures"
      Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal!

    • Computerworld is not even considered a trade rag anymore, it's generally considered a Microsoft advertisement. Hell, even the Windows geeks I work with hate that magazine. When factoring in the writer, the magazine, and the rhetoric used in the article, I can't help but wonder if this is a ploy by the propaganda machine to start drumming up for war with Syria again.

    • by schnell ( 163007 ) has an excellent summary of all the different smells of bullshit that emanate from this guy.

      I have no dog in this fight - I have literally never heard of "Ira Winkler" before today, at least that I remember. But from a quick review, the linked page seems needlessly argumentative and dismissive. Do you really need to take shots at people for saying cliches like "opinions are like a**holes - everybody has one?" Is that a reason to disqualify this guy from having an authoritative voice?

      Again, I don't know this guy and there may be dozens of reasons to blow him off as a blowhard douchebag. The linked

  • The U.S. is much better at attacking journalists.
    Who needs hackers.
  • Wha...?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @04:18PM (#46993211) Journal

    I used to deal with cleaning up the aftermath of the SEA daily. I see no evidence of nation state intelligence agency backing. They're mostly script kiddie exploits. They hit vulnerable older versions of popular software like WordPress and its plugins. Then they upload PHP web shells that are basically no different from r57 or c99. Spidershell would an improvement. Before the civil war they typically defaced sites with new pages decrying Israel's existence and calling for others to join them in defacing sites. Every other site defacing operation was basically the same or better.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Quote from TFA:

    "These people purport to be servants of the genocidal dictator of Syria [...]"

    Assad is a dictator... BUT NOT GENOCIDAL - on the contrary, he protects Syrians (of all ethnicities/religions) from the GENOCIDAL (Sunni Muslims) Islamists (their "moto" is: "Shia's in the grave, Christians in Beirut"! So... genocide-ethnic/religion cleansing!)
    I am a Greek, living in Greece - i don't have any relations with Syrians but since i am a close neighbor i think i understand good enough the situation there. Keep in mind that in Syria there are many Greeks -living there from even befo

  • Assad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @04:53PM (#46993545) Homepage Journal

    I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that he may be bad, but the alternatives are far worse. In most countries it seems the Arab Spring has had little beneficial effect in terms of Freeeeedom!

    • Remove a dictator with a revolution and you're likely to get chaos and extremism, unless it was a short term dictator in a country with a strong history of bureaucratic institutions. Not unique to the middle east, the DRC after Mobutu is an obvious example.
  • Sounds like he's trying to get back at them by making their bosses mad at them.

  • by enter to exit ( 1049190 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @10:25PM (#46995767)
    Their affiliation with any Syrian government is likely nil.

    They seem to be an uncontrollable incoherent, loosely affiliated group without any hierarchy who just use the brand as a PR banner. Like Anonymous or Al-Qaeda.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp