U.S. Confirms Syrian Electronic Army Defaced Marines Website

ABC News
Hacking Victim Turns Tables on Attacker With Bounty
.

View photo

Hacking Victim Turns Tables on Attacker With Bounty (ABC News)

U.S. officials confirmed a cyber attack by the Syrian Electronic Army on the Marine Corps recruiting website late Monday in which the pro-Assad collective replaced the normal page with one calling on U.S. servicemen to refuse orders to fight in Syria should they be called.

The confirmation, which came in a confidential bulletin sent to U.S. officials across the country obtained by ABC News, said that the website defacement included pictures of people wearing U.S. military uniforms holding signs in front of their faces with short declarations like "I didn't join the Marine Corps to Fight for al Qaeda in a Syrian civil war."

"Obama is a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue al Qaeda insurgents," a message from the SEA on the site said, calling the Marines their "brothers."

FULL COVERAGE: Syria in Crisis

The Marines Corps recruiting website appears to be functioning normally as of this report, but can now be counted among the SEA's high-profile victims of cyber vandalism. Previously, the group took responsibility for disrupting service for The New York Times website, The Washington Post website, as well as taking over the Twitter accounts of The Associated Press and the satirical news website The Onion, among many others.

In the complex conflict in Syria, the U.S. government has voiced its support for the opposition, even though a major player in the rebellion is Jabhat al-Nusra, a Sunni Muslim extremist organization that has sworn its allegiance to al Qaeda.

Following an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian regime that killed hundreds, President Obama announced late last week he would seek Congressional approval before launching a military strike against the Syrian government. The President said he would not be seeking action that included American military boots on the ground.

READ: Syrian Rebels Want U.S. to Hit Hard or Not at All

In an email interview with ABC News last week, an alleged leader of the SEA, who goes by the name SEA The Shadow online, said the group had been attacking the websites for major Western media outlets because the SEA believed they were spreading opposition lies about the Syrian conflict.

When President Obama was weighing a possible military strike on Syria, SEA The Shadow said that should the U.S. attack, "All American sites will be our targets and we may be more destructive."

READ: Interview With Alleged Member of the Syrian Electronic Army

Cyber security experts told ABC News last week that the SEA has shown technical and planning capabilities beyond that of the average hacktivist, but doubted the group had the skill to inflict serious damage to the U.S. military, economy or homeland infrastructure.

Still, as a U.S. official said, the group is fully on the U.S. government's radar and is considered " more than just a nuisance."

SEA The Shadow did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment on the Marine website hack.

View Comments (111)

Recommended for You

  • Jeb Bush's Fall (or Maybe Rise)

    On the eve of today’s New Hampshire presidential primary, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush finished his day at the Frank Jones Center on the seacoast, the same locale where another unlikely GOP contender, John McCain, once hosted his final town hall in a state that he ultimately won eight…

    Good Morning America10 mins ago
  • EXCLUSIVE: ‘Real Housewives’ Star Teresa Giudice Says Prison Was Like ‘Living in Hell’

    The showers were freezing cold ... I mean, the living conditions were really horrible. Speaking from her New Jersey home, the 43-year-old Giudice talked to Robach about her finances, her future and her time in prison –- including working for 12 cents an hour in the kitchen. The reality TV star…

    Good Morning America17 mins ago
  • Oscars Countdown: Stars Gather at Nominees Luncheon

    In “The Danish Girl,” Alicia Vikander’s character brims with tenderness and understanding. In “The Hateful Eight,” Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character Daisy is no fragile flower. Both actresses are Oscar nominees in the supporting actress category. At Monday’s Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, the…

    Good Morning America17 mins ago
  • Marco Rubio Believes He Must Be ‘Doing Something Right’

    Sen. Marco Rubio today brushed off recent attacks by his GOP rivals, saying he must be "doing something right," and expressing confidence despite what he called the "unusual set up" in today’s New Hampshire primary. Despite Christie's attacks, Rubio believes he had "a very strong debate," and…

    Good Morning America41 mins ago
  • Everything You Need to Know About the New Hampshire Primary

    Regardless of who wins, there’s a reason for Granite Staters to celebrate: Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary. Secretary of State William Gardner is predicting a record surge in Republican ballots cast.

    Good Morning America46 mins ago
  • Dixville Notch Casts First Votes in New Hampshire Primary

    The nine voters of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, became some of the first in the state -- and consequently, first in the nation -- to cast their ballots in the presidential primary in the early hours of Tuesday. New Hampshire has held the "First in the Nation" presidential primary since 1920, and…

    Good Morning America46 mins ago
  • John Kasich’s New Hampshire Primary Day Prediction: ‘We’re Going to Finish Very Strong’

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose campaign has maintained a laser-like focus on performing well in today’s New Hampshire primary, declined to predict exactly how he would place once all the votes are counted here, but sounded a note of confidence in an interview today on "Good Morning America.""We’re…

    Good Morning America53 mins ago
  • Good Morning America59 mins ago
  • Bernie Sanders and the Expectations Game in New Hampshire

    Sen. Bernie Sanders might be the underdog nationwide, but he has been leading in the polls in New Hampshire for months. Another from UMass-Lowell, also out Monday, had Sanders at 56 percent and Clinton at 40 percent. While the numbers would be exciting for any campaign, they have also set the…

    Good Morning America
  • DA in Cornell Sex Assault Case Condemns Underage Drinking Culture on Campuses

    The district attorney prosecuting a Cornell University fraternity president accused of attempted rape and sexual abuse blamed schools in general for "turning a blind eye" to the subject of underage drinking in connection with sexual assault on college campuses. Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, a member of…

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Prompts CDC to Activate Highest Emergency Ops Level

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Operations Center has been moved to Level 1, the agency's highest level, due to the risk of Zika virus transmission in the U.S., officials said today. The Level 1 activation is "reflecting the agency’s assessment of the need for an…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Girls' Star Lena Dunham Taking Time Off for 'Chronic' Illness

    The acclaimed HBO show "Girls" is back for a new season this month, but its biggest star will not being making press appearances due to a "chronic condition."Lena Dunham took to Instagram today to write, "I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I…

    Good Morning America
  • WWE Wrestler Daniel Bryan to Retire

    Former WWE champion and professional wrestling star Daniel Bryan is retiring."Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I'll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude," he tweeted on Monday.Read: Stone Cold Steve Austin: My Life After Pro…

    Good Morning America
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rocked by Hurricane-Force Winds Heads Back to New Jersey

    A Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds overnight is sailing back to port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The ship left from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday for a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas. The company posted a message on Twitter saying that all guests are…

    Good Morning America
  • Panda Cub Bei Bei Climbs a Tree With the Help of His Mom

    Bei Bei is moving up in the world.The Smithsonian National Zoo’s baby panda experienced the outdoors for the first time last week and now the nearly six-month-old cub is scaling trees—-with the help of his mom Mei Xiang, of course. The Washington DC based Zoo posted a video of the feat online this…

    Good Morning America
  • Chinese New Year Fireworks So Dangerous That Only a Few Get to Witness

    For much of the next two weeks, millions of Chinese will welcome in the Year of Monkey, which begins today, with a cavalcade of fireworks lighting up the night’s sky. In almost every corner of every city or village in Mainland China, families will light their own firecrackers and boxes of…

    Good Morning America
  • Countdown to New Hampshire With 5 Things to Watch in Tuesday's Primary

    Tuesday will be a critical moment on the road to the White House as residents of the Granite State cast their votes in the first-in-the-nation primary. With independents making up more than 40 percent of the electorate, the New Hampshire primary can often surprise, and that may be the case…

    Good Morning America