Al-Jazeera Fend Off Hacking Attempts, Adding To Long History of Spying In The Region

Al-Jazeera Fend Off Hacking Attempts, Adding To Long History of Spying In The Region

The Al-Jazeera Media Network said that it was targeted by unknown hackers in a series of cyber-attacks this week.

Al-Jazeera’s websites and platforms were attacked on June 5 and 8, 2021. The media network said the attacks affected some of its news platforms.

“Between June 5 and 8, 2021, Al-Jazeera websites and platforms experienced continued electronic attacks aimed at accessing, disrupting, and controlling some of the news platforms,” Al-Jazeera said in a statement.

It is unknown if this was a DDoS attack or a more sophisticated attack.

The news outlet noted that the attacks coincided with the screening of an episode “Ma Khafia Atham” (“What is Hidden is Greater”) of a documentary series by Tamer AlMisshal, a well-known investigative journalist in the country.

The statement noted that Al-Jazeera’s service provider was able to prevent the attacks and protect the organization from perpetrators, and will exercise its right to pursue legal recourse against the hackers.

In similar news, in December 2020, researchers at the Citizen Lab at Toronto University revealed that the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia used Israeli spyware Pegasus to secretly access the phones of journalists and executives of Al-Jazeera English.

Pegasus is mobile phone spyware developed by NSO Group. It allows to remotely monitor and exploit mobile devices. The software was used against individuals in countries such as Mexico and the United Arab Emirates for spying on activists and dissidents.

Citizen Lab is a non-profit organization that investigates governments that have questionable human rights records. According to Citizen Lab, in July 2020, the Al-Jazeera media company was targeted by hackers with advanced spyware. The attackers used a KISMET exploit that lets them remotely control an iMessage app. The software was also used to spy on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was murdered.

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