Harvard University's home page was taken over yesterday by hackers who used the compromised site to condemn the United States' support of the violent uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.
Before Harvard noticed the hack and took down its website briefly yesterday (Sept. 26), the home page displayed a Syrian flag, a picture of Assad clad in a military uniform, and the message, "SyRiAn eLeCTronic ArMy WeRe HeRE."
The message, the BBC reported, went on to accuse the United States of supporting a "policy of killing" in Syria by calling for Assad to step down.
"This site has been breached to spread our message if illegally," the defacement read. The Syrian Electronic Army message also threatened a violent attack against the U.S.
"Do you support on Syria?" the hackers wrote in broken English. "If you are you, as well as the following population of 23 million people. This means 23 million mobile bomb. Imagine what we could do."
A Harvard spokesperson told the BBC the university is examining how the hack occurred, and said it appears the defacement was "the work of a sophisticated individual or group."
Unlike the revolts in Egypt and Libya, Syria's "Arab Spring" uprising has been largely limited to provincial cities, and opposition to President Assad seems far from universal.
This is not the first time the pro-government Syrian hackers have lashed out online in support of their controversial leader. In August, the Syrian Electronic Army attacked the hacking group Anonymous in retaliation for the defacing of Syria's Ministry of Defense website with allegations by Anonymous that Syrian protesters had killed fellow citizens.