Couple Hours of Web-Oddity
12:40 am
Tue April 16, 2013

NPR.org Hacked

On Monday night, public radio station websites from New England to the deep South briefly showed odd web "news" articles saying only, "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here" (see examples in our slideshow).  Apparently NPR.org was hacked, and many local affiliates who show the official NPR newsfeed on their own websites thus showed SEA's cybergraffiti. 

According to a "Daily Kos" article, the Syrian Electronic Army even dug into the NPR mobile device app.  Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, the situation seemed to be contained.

UPDATE On Tuesday morning, NPR provided some background about the hacking group (which apparently has a grudge against reporter Deborah Amos).  NPR also released this statement:

Late Monday evening, several stories on the NPR website were defaced with headlines and text that said “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here.” Some of these stories were distributed to and appeared on NPR Member Station websites. We have made the necessary corrections to those stories on NPR.org and are continuing to work with our Member Stations. Similar statements were posted on several NPR Twitter accounts. Those Twitter accounts have been addressed. We are closely monitoring the situation.


In a case of spooky timing, the hacking became evident within 24 hours of the Boston Marathon bombing and also of a software problem which grounded many commercial aircraft for a day --though the hack might have been inserted long ago and just happened to "hatch" on April 15-16.  On the 17th, the besieged leader of Syria gave an interview to his state-controlled TV organization in which he said that the West will pay for supporting his opposition.