New York Times still down, Syrian Electronic Army website follows

Updated 12:50 p.m. ET

A group of hackers going by the name Syrian Electronic Army is continuing to wreak havoc on media websites.

TheNew York Times' website has been unavailable since Tuesday. For a short time, the Huffington Post UK's website was defaced and Twitter said it had problems displaying images.

It appears the domain name system (DNS) for NYTimes.com was rerouted, but can be found using its numerical Internet Protocol addresses, which is 170.149.168.130.  A DNS is a naming system that points a domain name, like NYTimes.com, to the website's numerical IP address.

Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT, told the Associated Press the breaches were caused by a spear phishing attack at one of its U.S.-based global resellers. Hnarakis declined to name the reseller.

A federal law enforcement official tells CBS News FBI is "looking into" the hacking of the New York Times website. The official stresses this is technically not an "investigation,"-- as that is a higher level.

The Australian company Melbourn IT, which hosts the companies' domain names, may still be under attack. Wednesday morning, the company's blog was not available and read: "Hacked by SEA, Your servers security is very weak." Melbourne IT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Syrian Electronic Army may be getting a taste of its own medicine. The hacking group reported on Twitter Wednesday that its website is down because its host company, Name.com, has suspended the account. A spokesperson for Name.com's parent company Demand Media declined to confirm the claims and says it does not comment on individual accounts.

The Syrian Electronic Army has previously claimed responsibility for attacking the websites or Twitter accounts of the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Agence France-Press, 60 Minutes, CBS News,National Public Radio, The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera English and the BBC.

The attacks on media websites occur as the United States mulls a response to reports that Syria used chemical weapons last week, leaving more than 300 Syrians civilians dead. The hacking group appears to be supporters of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.