Crisis in Qatar Sends Cyber-Security Warning to Rest of the World
When Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on 5 June, they did so not only because of Doha’s alleged support for terrorism but also because of its perceived friendly attitude towards Iran.
Qatar’s ambiguous posture toward Tehran has been a thorn in Saudi Arabia’s side for some time – but the action was partly triggered by a controversial news report from the Qatari state news agency on 23 May.
The remarks attributed to the country's ruler and foreign minister, rejected by Doha as fake news, appear to have come from a deliberate cyber-misinformation campaign aimed at provoking diplomatic uproar in the Gulf.
CNN reported the findings of a team of FBI investigators sent to Doha. The US officials concluded, CNN said, that on 23 May Russian hackers placed a fabricated story on the agency’s site in which Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani appeared friendly toward Iran and Israel and questioned whether US President Donald Trump would survive in office.