Syrian Electronic Army Claims Responsibility For New York Times Cyber Attack

Does this mean war? The New York Times' website was hit by a cyber attack Tuesday, apparently, by the Syrian Electronic Army.

Around 4:20 p.m., Times' Chief Information Officer Marc Frons issued a statement to employees notifying them of a "malicious external attack" and warning them to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”

A group claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army is taking credit for the attack, which hit at 3 p.m. Just when the company thought the issue was resolved, they were hit again. Later that evening, the Times released a statement saying they were on their way to resolving the issue.

The same group is allegedly responsible for attacks on other major papers including the Washington Post's website on August 15 and the Financial Times last May.

The group is also supposedly responsible for an attack on Twitter, which also took place on Tuesday night. Twitter issued a statement saying that its records for several organizations had been changed, and that the social media site was experiencing a problem with its images. According to Twitter, no user information was compromised in the attack.

According to Frons, the attacks are much more sophisticated than the S.E.A's previous forays into hacking. “In terms of the sophistication of the attack, this is a big deal,” Frons said. “It’s sort of like breaking into the local savings and loan versus breaking into Fort Knox.

The Syrian Electronic Army is reportedly comprised of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad, but claim to have no ties to the country's government. The group first appeared in 2011, around the time of the Arab Spring when they started attacking media outlets and posting pro-Assad spam messages on popular Facebook pages, like the one belonging to President Obama.