Syrian hacker group says it hacked Turkey two years ago

Syrian hacker group says it hacked Turkey two years ago

İpek Yezdani - ISTANBUL
Syrian hacker group says it hacked Turkey two years ago

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), which hacked a number of media outlets in the past, has leaked the data claimed to be collected over previous years from the Turkish governmental institutions and the Turkish military and groups. REUTERS photo

Hackers from the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) have said they hacked scores of email accounts, including ones belonging to the Turkish government, but waited for the right time to reveal them.

SEA recently published confidential emails and messages from strategic Turkish government agencies. The hackers released a total of 967 email accounts in 14 categories on the Internet, unveiling scores of correspondence made between March 2009 and November 2012.

The list of emails hacked by the group includes a number of Turkish ministers, diplomats and civil servants, as well as accounts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Arab League.

“We hacked  the Turkish email servers two years ago but chose to hold on to these emails to ensure the Turkish government doesn’t attempt to whitewash the involvement they have had inside Syria immediately,” a spokesperson from SEA told daily Hürriyet in a recent email interview.

The hacker group identified itself as “thousands of Syrian youth who stood up to an external plot to destroy our country, Syria, from the very start of the war.”

The spokesperson of the group claimed that the emails they exposed had proved the coordination between the Turkish government and armed groups in Syria.

“The entire world did not respect Syria’s borders and we will, in turn, ignore all the borders of the world and target those who want to bring harm to our country no matter where they reside,” the member said.

‘No connection to al-Assad’

The group, which has been said to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has denied any connection with the government.

“SEA has no affiliation with the Syrian government or any other group in the world. We act independently and have a very large support base of members on social media. The SCS [Syrian Computer Society which was led by Bashar al-Assad before he became the president] cowered from hosting our site after being threatened externally. We are currently hosted on foreign servers. No one has lent their support to us but it is OK, because it doesn’t take much – just a laptop, an Internet connection, knowledge and time,” the SEA spokesperson said.

SEA previously told Hürriyet that leading government agencies, especially the Turkish Defense Ministry, has become a target for them since the Turkish military shot down a Syrian helicopter in September 2013.

“We targeted most Turkish regime websites, like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Presidency, the military industry and many others. All the emails and the messages of the targeted websites were dumped and downloaded, and we will leak them soon,” the spokesperson said in a previous interview.

Riyadh, Ankara, Doha involved in Syrian war

The spokesperson of the group, which hacked Saudi Arabian, Qatari and the Arab League emails in addition to accounts in Turkey, said Riyadh, Doha, Ankara and the Arab League were involved in the war in Syria.

“We hope the world can hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the weapons it has smuggled into Syria, including mortars which are used by terrorists to target civilian areas. All the involvement is now proven thanks to these leaks. The Arab League is also confirmed to be the circus that it is now regarded as being by diplomats everywhere,” he said.

The group had previously hacked the websites of the Turkish Prime Ministry, Interior Ministry and ÖSYM, the central body for nationwide exams in Turkey.

The group also hacked the Twitter account of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Facebook account of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the websites and Twitter accounts of The Guardian, BBC, New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, CNN and Al-Jazeera in the recent past.