Al Jazeera news network's mobile service was hacked today, as per a report by AFP. This development comes barely a week after a number of its websites were hacked by Syria’s Assad loyalists, it reported on its website al-jazeera.net.
"The story claiming that the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem) has been the target of an assassination attempt in the royal palace is completely false and was a result of hacking of the service," Al Jazeera stated. According to the AFP report, the news channel said the claim was among three false texts sent via its mobile service "which has been hacked."
According to posts on various social networks, including Twitter, Al-Jazeera's mobile service today stated that Sheikh Hamad was the target of an attack on his palace in Doha and that the wife of the emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, was lightly wounded.
The news network said last week that a number of its websites were apparently hacked by Syrian government loyalists for what they said was the television channel's support for the "armed terrorist groups and spreading lies and fabricated news".
Al Jazeera repeatedly hacked
Various reports in the media said a Syrian flag and statement denouncing Al Jazeera's "positions against the Syrian people and government" were posted on the Arabic site of the channel in response to its coverage of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad which began in March last year. The message also cited Al-Jazeera's "spread of false news."
Reuters reported that Al Jazeera took the lead in covering the uprisings across the Arab world, and Qatar, one of the Sunni-led states in the region, publicly backed the predominantly Sunni rebel movement in Syria against Assad's Alawite-led government. "The hack attack, claimed by a group calling itself "al-Rashedon", is the latest in a wave of cyber attacks on news agencies and energy companies, carried out by hostile governments, militant groups or private "hacktivists" to make political points," the report reads.
Hacktivist group Anonymous has been known to organise hacktivist attacks on corporations and governments to protest censorship. The group recently hacked the websites of the Indian Supreme Court and the Congress. Websites such as http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in, dot.gov.in and aicc.org.in were rendered inaccessible. The attacks were carried out by #OpIndia (Operations in India). Anonymous stated in a series of tweets: "#Government must understand. #INTERNET belongs to us! #TANGODOWN --> http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in & http://aicc.org.in," "@Anon_Central Another #TANGODOWN -->> http://www.dot.gov.in Department of telecom, You should've expected us! ~ #opindia”.
Even the MTNL website wasn't spared as it is one of the ISPs that have been blocking torrents and file sharing websites. Although MTNL’s Internet services weren’t affected, the MTNL website was rendered inaccessible. The site serves as a gateway for a number of services for MTNL, which includes bill payment and schemes on their services. Anonymous hadn’t damaged any data on the site, except for the main home page. So, it was clear that it was just a protest against Internet censorship.