Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Qatar accuses UAE of hack that sparked Gulf crisis

Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 02:54

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack", Qatari government's attorney general Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said in a statement last month.

Qatar says UAE's involvement in the hacking of the Qatar news agency is a violation of global law.

But according to United States intelligence agencies, in a report leaked to the Washington Post, the hack was planned by UAE government officials, although it is unclear whether UAE government agencies carried out the cyber attacks directly or contracted a third-party to do it for them to keep it at arm's length.

Read the whole story from The Washington Post.

UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was "false", the Post said.

The Washington Post report accusing the United Arab Emirates of being behind the alleged hacking of Qatar's state media agency (QNA) is infallible proof of its responsibility for the attack, Qatari officials has said.

The US intelligence learned about the UAE's involvement after analyzing the obtained information that UAE senior officials allegedly discussed the plan of hacking Qatar's media outlet on May 23, one day prior to the attack. The official representative of the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that the agency's site was hacked, the speech was published by hackers and has nothing to do with the country's leader.

United States intelligence agencies declined to comment on the Post's article, but the UAE's ambassador insisted that it "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking".

The attack involved planting fake statements - falsely attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he "spoke favorably" of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah - into QNA reports.

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with Qatar in early June over allegations that it supports extremist ideology - a charge Qatar denied.

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour". Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours".

Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said in a statement that worldwide monitoring was needed in the standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbours.

The FBI, CIA as well as Britain's NCA, all of whom have been working with Qatar to investigate the QNA hack, are yet to comment on the matter.