New York Times says outage may be 'malicious' attack

NEW YORK (AFP) - The New York Times said its website went down Tuesday after what appeared to be a "malicious external attack." A security researcher said there were indications that the Syrian Electronic Army, which has attacked several media organisations, was the culprit.

Times spokesman Eileen Murphy made the announcement on Twitter, two weeks after the site went offline due to what the daily said was an internal server problem.

Her full tweet said: "re: http: nytimes.com - initial assessment - issue is most likely result of malicious external attack. working to fix." The newspaper's main Twitter account said shortly after 2000 GMT (4am Singapore time) that the website "is experiencing technical difficulties" but that news was still being published via Twitter and other links.

Matt Johansen of WhiteHat Security said in a tweet that the technical aspects of the website during the outage were "pointing to Syrian Electronic Army." The Washington Post website was hacked this month in an attack blamed on the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that backs embattled strongman Bashar al-Assad.

The Times said in January that hackers stole its corporate passwords and accessed the personal computers of 53 employees after the newspaper published a report on the family fortune of China's Premier Wen Jiabao.