Earlier today, Outbrain was the victim of a hacking attack by the Syrian Electronic Army. Below is a description of how the attack unfolded to help others protect against similar attempts. Updates will continue to be posted to this blog.
On the evening of August 14th, a phishing email was sent to all employees at Outbrain purporting to be from Outbrain’s CEO. It led to a page asking Outbrain employees to input their credentials to see the information. Once an employee had revealed their information, the hackers were able to infiltrate our email systems and identify other credentials for accessing some of our internal systems.
At 10:23am EST SEA took responsibility for hack of CNN.com, changing a setting through Outbrain’s admin console to label Outbrain recommendations as “Hacked by SEA.”
At 10:34am Outbrain internal staff became aware of the breach.
By 10:40am Outbrain network operations began investigating and decided to shut down all serving systems, degrade gracefully and block all external access to the system.
By 11:03am Outbrain finished turning off its service from all sites where we operate.
We are continuing to review all systems before re-initiating service.