Qatar news agency hacked, attackers posted fake news

Pierluigi Paganini May 24, 2017

Qatar announced it had begun an inquiry into a security breach by hackers who published fake news that created tensions with the neighbor states.

Qatar faced an unprecedented security breach, unknown attackers posted fake news stories attributed to its ruler on highly sensitive regional political issues.

Qatar news agency hacked

The hackers hit the Qatar official news agency website and Twitter account in the early hours of the morning causing serious problem to the country.

The government Communications Office confirmed that the story published by hackers is false, and had “no basis whatsoever”. Hackers shared fake content supposedly addressed by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, tensions with the Trump’s administration, strategic relations with Iran, and comments about Hamas.

“The Qatar News Agency website has been hacked by an unknown entity,” reported the Communications Office in a statement.

“A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published.”

Hackers also published on the hijacked Twitter account a fake story in Arabic apparently from the country’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, about Qatar withdrawing its ambassadors from several countries in other East Gulf states.

The fake statement on QNA was reported by broadcasters in the Gulf area, including in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, Al-Jazeera transmissions and websites were blocked for some time in the UAE.

The fake news triggered the protest over the Social media in different Gulf countries.

Analyzing the recent events in the Middle East, the news was spread after the recent visit of President Trump in Saudi Arabia while Qatar was claiming it had been the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign over its alleged “support” for terrorism.

According to Doha, the attack was powered by anti-Qatar organizations.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Doha, Qatar)

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