The New York Times website went down for the second time in two weeks on Tuesday, after what the newspaper suspects was an attack by hackers.
On Tuesday afternoon, the site stopped working for a large swath of visitors. They received an "Internal Server Error" message instead. The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group that supports Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, has claimed responsibility for the attack. At one point, the New York Times homepage re-directed to a page that read "Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army" and showed the SEA's logo.
Matt Johansen, head of threat research center at WhiteHat Security, tweeted that the server belonging to the New York Times was pointing to a domain registered to the Syrian Electronic Army. The group also claimed responsibility for hacking Twitter accounts belonging to the AP, NPR, Reuters, BBC and Al Jazeera, as well as links on CNN, the Washington Post and Time.
"I can confirm that the site is down," Eileen Murphy, vice president of corporate communications for The New York Times, told The Huffington Post's Gerry Smith on Tuesday. "It's not down for every user. We are working to resolve the problem. Our initial assessment is it's most likely the result of a malicious external attack." She also confirmed the outage on Twitter.
Other users reported that the New York Times website was working normally for them. The newspaper tweeted:
and continued to push its stories out via social media:
The Times experienced a wider outage earlier this month, which affected its website as well as its internal email server. In a statement to readers, the newspaper explained the technical difficulties as a result of "a scheduled maintenance update." The website was down for about two hours.
Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company, issued a statement at 4:20 p.m. warning employees that the disruption — which appeared to still be affecting the Web site as of 5:50 p.m. — was " the result of a malicious external attack by the Syrian Electronic Army “or someone trying very hard to be them.” He advised employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”