The Onion, the satirical news site that saw its Twitter account hijacked by a Syrian hacker group earlier this week, has just performed a pretty significant bit of public service. In a detailed post, the site’s tech team has published a fairly thorough tick-tock on how the attack was carried out.
This is the opposite of what companies usually do when they experience a security breach. The pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army has been attacking the Twitter accounts of many Western media organizations in recent weeks, including CBS News, the BBC, Associated Press, and others). None of those organizations have followed up with any significant disclosure about what happened.
What The Onion has disclosed is that the attackers in this case used a sophisticated multilayered attack, using information gleaned in the first round to then launch a second that gathers more information, and so on, until at last they had penetrated the target: The Onion’s Twitter account, with a healthy five million followers.
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