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FAQs about hacks: Everything you need to know about the Syrian Electronic Army

Brad Chacos | Aug. 29, 2013
What is the Syrian Electronic Army? What are they after? Should you be scared? Read on for the answers.

Oh no! Should I be worried?
Yes and no.

Thus far, the Syrian Electronic Army has largely been targeting the digital equivalent of microphones, rather than the masses: It's trying to spread the pro-al-Assad word via hijacked media accounts. Yesterday's attack didn't affect user accounts or data in any way, as far as experts can tell.

But that doesn't mean the group intends to stay mostly harmless. In the midst of Tuesday's attacks, experts from Google, OpenDNS, and Cloudflare found that the Syrian Electronic Army site that replaced the New York Times homepage appeared to be infested with malware.

Oh no! How can I protect myself against that?
You shouldn't have anything to worry about if you take some basic online security precautions—the kind of stuff you should already be doing, anyway. Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date to protect against potential malware infections.

Likewise, you can keep your online accounts buttoned up by activating two-factor authentication wherever possible—Twitter offers both SMS- and app-based two-factor authentication, for example—and, more importantly, by never reusing passwords across multiple sites. It's not as hard as it sounds! Password managers can take a lot of the hassle out of, well, password management, and PCWorld has a guide to building better passwords without losing your mind.


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