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December 16, 2017

Hackers attack the Russian media publishing news about Syria


Russian Federal News Agency (FNA) published several articles about Syria, made in Syria. Those publications caused the inadequate reaction from anonymous hackers, who attacked the servers of the FNA editorial office and protected VPN connections, via which the FNA reporters in Syria send the materials to the editorial office.

The first DDOS attack was recorded after the article “Syria, the FNA reporters at the Shayrat base: there are no chemical weapons here.” Together with the article a YouTube video, named “The FNA reporters in Syria, from the site where from the US attacked the Shayrat base,” was published. Despite the attack, more than 200 thousand people watched the video, dozens of people left comments.

The FNA’s IT specialists managed to repel the attack, but later, after the “the USA used Israel to attack the Shayrat airbase in Syria” article was published, another DDOS attack happened. Nevertheless, despite this attack, the material was read by over half a million users of the Russian Internet, dozens of people left comments.

In the article under attack, a source from the Lebanese army discloses to the FNA the details of the Shayrat airbase attack by the “Tomahawk” cruise missiles.

On April 11 the editorial board recorded a much more powerful DDOS attack, which violated the working capacity of the communication channels of the editorial office. A day later, another even more active DDOS attack happened.

After analyzing the situation, we have found the attack reason: the “ISIS* terrorists raped and tortured to death children in Aleppo, while the Western press kept silent” article and the “Urgent news. The massacre of children in Aleppo” YouTube video. We would like to remind that the article contains the video of the consequences of the monstrous crime, which was committed the day before on the outskirts of Aleppo by the radical militants belonging to the so-called Syrian opposition. The attack happened right after the article publication.

The last DDOS attack has started on April 17, at night, and is still going on. The riafan.ru site is under attack now, too. We had to limit the foreign traffic and some of the users abroad cannot get the full access to the site materials. The editorial board is working on the solution of the problem.

It is important to note that our reporters in Syria actively communicate with local residents, eyewitnesses to the crimes of radical Islamists, relatives of victims and other people, information about whom should not be publicly available.

For now, the FNA editorial board is working thanks to the reserve communication channels and is conducting its own investigation of the situation. We also hope that the journalistic community, both in Russia and abroad, will condemn the shameful practice of hacker attacks targeting the media.

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