Two weeks after an alleged cyber attack on Qatar’s state news agency resulted in the publishing of a fake news story, the Qatari-funded broadcasting company Al-Jazeera claims that the company’s “websites and digital platforms” are being targeted in “systematic and continual hacking attempts.” The attack comes as officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to assist the Qatari government in Doha in investigations into an April breach of systems at the Qatar National Bank, as well as the previous media breach.
The fake news story was apparently aimed at further escalating tensions in Qatar’s ongoing diplomatic crisis. On Wednesday, CNN reported that unnamed US officials had linked Russian hackers to planting it. That story falsely reported comments by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at a military graduation ceremony, saying that President Trump might not last long in office, criticizing escalation of animosity toward Iran, and praising Hezbollah and Hamas as resistance organizations.
However, multiple sources Ars has spoken with have disputed the Russia connection claim. No clear evidence has surfaced yet of who was involved, but Qatar’s relationship with the US and its funding of the Al-Jazeera news service have been sources of concern for other governments in the region.