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theEweekly Wrap

Syria supporters take control of media outlets – Facebook gives world governments user information – Cyrus trumps Super Bowl tweets per minute

Syria hack Twitter and New York Times

A number of high profile media companies experienced a security breach on Tuesday when a hacker group of Syrian government supporters took control of the company that hosts their websites.

The Syrian Electronic Army (The SEA) have taken credit for the attacks on Australian hosting company MelbourneIT that affected Twitter, The New York Times and The Huffington Post. The group has previously targeted other media organisations it considers to be hostile towards the regime of President Bashaar al-Assad, and claimed credit in a series of tweets.

The attack has occurred as Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama are in the middle of discussions over what action should be taken against Syria. The SEA's security breach led to the New York Times being taken offline and issues with Twitter's image display. NYT readers were re-directed to a Syrian controlled site for over an hour before it eventually went offline.

In a statement from MelborneIT the host company stated that the SEA gained access using phishing tactics to acquire login details. The company believe that this was a long planned operation, as once inside the hosting company the SEA had known what it was looking for in order to change the DNS records of several domain names, including The New York Times.

This is the latest in a spate of hacking attacks from the SEA on other large media corporations including: Sky, the BBC's Twitter Account, Financial Times, the Guardian Newspaper and the Associated Press.

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Facebook complies with government request for information

Governments around the world requested personal information on more than 38,000 Facebook users during the first six months of 2013.

The social networking site released information yesterday that detailed the number of government requests it has had for information, and those it has complied with; multiple users could be cited within a single request.

The report highlighted the "stringent processes" involved that must be adhered to before information is released. Colin Stretch, General Counsel for Facebook stated that the vast majority of the requests were made in relation to criminal cases such as kidnappings and robberies, though the exact context in which the requests were made has not been revealed.

Mr Stretch continued to state:

"We will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure, we hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations."

The largest number of requests came from the US who made between 20-21000 in the first half of the year, followed by India, the UK, Germany and Italy. The statistics of significant interest have been those from countries experiencing civil unrest; of Turkey's 96 requests covering 173 users only 45 were complied with, whereas none of those made by the Egyptian authorities were granted.

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Miley Cyrus trumps Super Bowl in tweets per minute

On Sunday evening Miley Cyrus took to the stage at the 2013 VMAs and quickly took over the global conversation.

Her show-stopping performance with Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, had the world tweeting at such a pace that she beat the blackout at the Super Bowl earlier in the year with a whopping 306,000 tweets per minute according to data gathered by Twitter; the Super Bowl only managed 231,500.

In comparison, last year's MTV Video awards ceremony peaked at a measly 98,300 tweets per minute.

Cyrus's twerking performance in the now infamous nude bikini, has inspired a mixed reaction from fans, but generated uproar from the Parents Television Council. Paul Porter, an Advisory Board Member for the group stated that "heads should roll" over the MTV show as a whole.

However, Cyrus's own tweets have been less negative as she tweeted following her performance:

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