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Saudi-based agents hacked Qatar state news website, documentary reveals

Qatar has been blockaded for nearly one year [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 June, 2018

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Agents working in a Saudi ministry in the capital Riyadh were behind the hacking of Qatar's state-run news agency last year, a documentary has revealed.

Agents working in a Saudi ministry in the capital Riyadh were behind the hacking of Qatar's state-run news agency last year, a documentary has revealed.

The film released by Doha-based Al Jazeera on Sunday, reveals new details about the cyber attack against the Qatar News Agency [QNA].

"The investigation obtained detailed information on the devices used by the Saudi hacking cell… which published the false comments attributed to the Emir," an Al Jazeera  press statement said.

"It revealed that a dummy company run by the United Arab Emirates operating in Azerbaijan coordinated with three Turkish companies to find vulnerabilities on the QNA website.

"The company asked them to find the security gaps under the pretence of providing security solutions for the website.

"As soon as the Emirati company obtained the information in 2016 it stopped its work in Azerbaijan and handed over the information on the vulnerabilities to the Saudi hacking team," it added.

Last May, a press release purporting to contain explosive quotes from Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, appeared on the QNA website.

In comments said to have been from a military graduation ceremony, the Emir in part expressed understanding for Hizballah and Hamas, and claimed Donald Trump might not last long as US president.

Less than a fortnight later, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly broke off diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, accusing it of having links with radical groups and seeking closer ties with Iran.

Qatar denies the charges and the boycott remains in place almost a year later.

Qatar, the world's number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, has withstood the economic and financial impact of the crisis.

QNA returned to Twitter last week for the first time since it was hacked.

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