Pro-Assad 'Syrian Electronic Army' boasts of attacks on NYT, Twitter, Huffington Post (updated)

A hacker group loyal to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad known as "Syrian Electronic Army" (or someone posing as the SEA) took down the New York Times website today, and also attacked Twitter and HuffPo UK.

It's not the first time the SEA has attacked (and effectively denied online service for) Western media organizations, but it is the first time we're aware of that they've taken down the New York Times. If there's a single holy grail media target for anti-US hackers, it's probably the Times.

The Times has more on how it happened, and here's a later post with more technical details.

The New York Times Web site was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon following an attack on the company's domain name registrar, Melbourne IT. The attack also required employees of The Times to stop sending out sensitive e-mails.

Here was Twitter's brief statement:

At 20:49 UTC, our DNS provider experienced an issue in which it appears DNS records for various organizations were modified, including one of Twitter's domains used for image serving, Viewing of images and photos was sporadically impacted. By 22:29 UTC, the original domain record for was restored. No Twitter user information was affected by this incident.

Update, 4:15pm: Kevin Poulsen at Wired News has a report about the attack.

Hacktivists loyal to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad have taken over The New York Times' web address to broadcast a circa-1998-style defacement message: "Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army."

Note the sly dig.

And, our previous item on Boing Boing. Below, the SEA's own brag-tweets.