Al Jazeera has confirmed that subscribers of its SMS breaking news alerts were sent false updates when its system was hacked this evening.
UPDATE: The Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hackers who support Syria’s embattled government, was quick to claim responsibility for the cyberattack.
A message was apparently sent out claiming that an attempt had been made to assassinate Qatar’s prime minister, but he had survived. Another update falsely stated that Sheikha Moza, the wife of Qatar’s emir, had been “lightly wounded.”
The network later posted updates on its @AJALive Twitter account to inform Al Jazeera Mobile subscribers that it had been hacked, and the alleged assassination attempt was fake:
An Al Jazeera spokesperson told Doha News that the network was still looking into how the incident had occurred.
It isn’t the first time the network has been the target of a cyberattack. Just last week its English website aljazeera.com was taken offline temporarily through DNS-poisoning.
Fake news stories have also been disseminated in the past about an assassination attempt on Qatar’s emir, and a non-existent failed coup. Analysts have said supporters of Bashar al-Assad are behind a smear campaign being leveled at the state of Qatar and the Al Jazeera Network for their critical stances against the Syrian government.
Credit: Photo by Osama Saeed