January 24, 2014

Hackers claiming to be from the Syrian Electronic Army broke into CNN’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and one of the news channel’s blogs on Thursday. The hacks occurred amid the Geneva 2 peace talks between government and opposition representatives.

Around 17:45 EST, CNN’s Twitter account sent messages such as “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here…Stop lying…All your reports are fake!” and “DON’T FORGET: Al Qaeda is AL CIA da. Funded, armed and controlled.”

Once CNN had regained control, it tweeted, “Some of our organization’s social media accounts were compromised. We have secured those accounts and are working to remedy the issue.”

The Syrian Electronic Army – a collective of hackers sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar Assad – has targeted other news outlets like BBC and NPR, as well as Skype, TIME magazine, and US President Barack Obama’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Thursday was the second day of preliminary meetings in Geneva before more serious peace talks begin on Friday between Assad’s regime and opposition leaders. The Geneva 2 meetings also involve world powers such as Russia and the United States, as well as various Arab states and Turkey. The opposition coalition repeated Thursday its aversion to meeting face-to-face with Syrian government representatives. UN mediators will organize negotiations between the groups.

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