Online activists backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed responsibility for hacking an AFP Twitter account.

The account, @AFPphoto, was hacked yesterday at around 1645 GMT (2215 IST). Images posted until the account was suspended more than an hour later did not come from the agency, AFP’s Management said in a statement.

Most of the images posted after the site was hacked were related to the conflict in Syria.

In a tweet, an online group known as the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for hacking the AFP account.

The group has previously claimed credit for hacking the websites of Sky News Arabia and Al-Jazeera Mobile, as well as those of Governments in the region.

The Syrian Electronic Army claims on its website to defend the “Syrian Arab people” against campaigns led by the Arab and Western media it accuses of “broadcasting fabricated news about what is happening in Syria”.

AFP has also been the victim since Monday of a so-called “phishing” attack designed to steal the identifications and passwords of agency employees by luring them into logging on to a fake AFP website.

The attack was still under way but has so far been successfully repelled, AFP’s security experts said.

It was not clear as of Tuesday night whether the two episodes were related.

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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