Saudi newspaper Al-Watan hacked by Iran, says editor

Al-Watan's front page detailing the hacking attacks on its website. (Al-Watan)

Hackers from outside Saudi Arabia seized control of a major newspaper website in the kingdom on Thursday and published false news about its military operation in Yemen, the paper said.

The fake report on Al-Watan was picked up by a number of Arabic news sites loyal to Shiite-dominated Iran.

Relations between the two countries have worsened this year.

Speaking to Al Arabiya's Arabic website, Al Watan's Editor-in-Chief Othman Al-Seeni accused Iran of being behind the hack, adding that "entities in Tehran were the first to tweet about the incident".

Al-Seeni said that ISIS may also be associated with the attack, adding that his newspaper's website has also been hacked last year.

"We issued a press release and we are working with the authorities to determine the perpetrators", he added.

"The newspaper online site was subject to hacking at 9:20 on Thursday morning (0620 GMT) by hostile groups from outside the kingdom," the newspaper said in a statement.

"They were able to control the site for a period of time and published false news" including a fake statement by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, it said.

The hacker intentionally "published lies", claiming they were quotes from Prince Mohammed relating to be Saudi-led military coalition's operation in Yemen.

Al-Watan is a privately-owned newspaper linked to a member of the royal family and based in the southwestern city of Abha. It said technicians were able to recover the website after "this crime" of hacking.

(With AFP)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51