Visitors of several popular news sites including the Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Evening Standard, Forbes, Al Jazeera, CBC News, NBC and PC World received a popup showing a message stating the website was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).
According to the Independent the attackers were able to modify the DNS of the Gigya content delivery network (CDN). The affected websites all used services from Gigya, a company that offers a platform to identify visitors and users. The attackers found a way to change the DNS settings from Gigya on the website of domain registrar GoDaddy. The Domain Name System (DNS) works like a phone book, it translates domain names to IP addresses.
Due to the DNS hijack the domains of affected sites pointed to the domain of the SEA. The websites themselves weren’t hacked and by disabling the Gigya code the websites were able to quickly resolve the issues, according to the Guardian. Gigya has also announced the issues have been resolved.
The hacktivists were frequently in the news the last year because they hacked Twitter accounts and web services of several large media organisations. The SEA successfully attacked websites of Skype, Microsoft, CNN, Viber, The Guardian, Thomson Reuters, The Onion, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and advertisements on Reuters.com.