Rami Olwan

All About CyberLaw, Copyright and Developing Countries

Al Arabiya Hunts for Hackers in US courts

Al Arabiya is pursuing legal recourse in American courts after hackers took control of the Dubai-based channel’s domain name in the most prominent cyber attack since the recent Sunni-Shiite ‘hacking war’ began.

The hackers, allegedly Shiites, were unable to access website content but gained control of the domain name and replaced it with a message warning against continued attacks on Shiite websites.

The website was temporarily moved to www.alarabiya.tv as Al Arabiya launched a legal battle to regain its domain name and identify the hackers.

Al Arabiya is taking legal action to get its domain name back,” Dr. Ammar Bakar, editor-in-chief of AlArabiya.net, said. “The server in the United States was hacked into and hackers managed to re-direct viewers to another site.

Bakar explained that the servers of the U.S.-based company that manages registration of the domain name, Network Solutions, were attacked and hackers succeeded in changing the domain’s registered name and owner and moved the host to the U.S.-based GoDaddy.Al Arabiya is working through the American court system to regain ownership of the domain name and expects the problem to be solved early next week, the end of the American weekend.

Since the attack happened, shortly after midnight Thursday, AlArabiya.net has been inundated with supportive messages from readers, political figures and media heads.

“We are unbiased in our reporting and because of that we are constantly accused of backing the opposite side,” Fouda told AlArabiya.net, adding the websites editorial team comprises a host of different nationalities and religions and the website will continue to adhere to its policy of moderate, balanced and objective reporting.

Late Thursday a message appeared on Al Arabiya’s site warning in Arabic and English that “if attacks on Shiite websites continue, none of your websites will be safe.” The page showed a picture of a burning Israeli flag and listed 100 “Sunni” sites that were also hacked. Hours later the picture was replaced by a photo of a Leopard and the names of the hackers, though relgious references were removed.

tit-for-tat cyber war that began in September has disabled more than 1,000 websites, belonging to both sects, as Shiite and Sunni hackers infiltrated primarily religious websites to post sectarian messages.

The ‘hacking war’ began after a UAE-based group hacked 300 Shiite websites, including Iraq’s Ayatollah Sistani’s website. Shiite hackers retaliated by attacking an estimated 900 Sunni websites including, famous Saudi preacher Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni’s site.



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