August 28, 2013 Last Updated 11:03 am

Syrian hackers ensnarl NYT; Sacramento Bee's new 'insider' app, Capitol Alert

Morning Brief:

The New York Times was hit with a hacker attack yesterday which caused some viewers, especially those on the east coast, to stop being able to access the website. Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company, said the outage was the result of “a malicious external attack” and warned employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”

The Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, claimed responsibility. The same group went after the Financial Times and the Washington Post a few months ago.

The group attacked the company’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT, and sent some readers to a a Syrian web domain.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. would push for the United Nations to hold Syria’s government responsible for last week’s chemical attack and authorize “all necessary measures” to protect civilians, a prospect that seems highly unlikely, even naive.

The Guardian’s Martin Chulov and Mona Mahmood are reporting this morning that many of Syria’s elites are fleeing the country ahead of any attack from US and UK forces. The Arab League has rejected the idea of an an attack on Syria and Iran said any attack would lead to counterattacks on Israel by their country.

screen480x480-1App updates continue to be issued in preparation for the release of iOS 7, which could occur as quickly as September 10, the day of the iPhone event.

But one app, Capitol Alert, available for both iPhone and iPad, has just been updated and a marketing push begun for reasons unrelated to any iOS change.

The app is from McClatchy’s Sacramento Bee. The app uses the same third party vendor as all the other McClatchy apps, Spreed, but is customized to a high degree. The “insider” app provides breaking news alerts, political coverage and the Bee’s blogs for those involved in state politics in the state capitol. The app provides a minimum of content for free, but otherwise costs $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year for access. In this regard, the newspaper’s app is more akin to a B2B solution or one from a financial newspaper.

“Our chief mission with this product is to be useful,” said The Bee’s Political Editor Amy Chance. “We want to provide insiders with early information, cut through the Twitter clutter and put key information about the Legislature and California politics at their fingertips on a mobile device.”

The apps were updated earlier this month to bring in the in-app purchase options.

Some of those app updates that are, in fact, iOS 7 related this morning include an update to the British Journal of Photography, which uses the Mag+ platform, while Cygnus Business Media has updated Feed & Grain 2013 and CPA Practice Advisor, which uses the Adobe DPS.

Also updated today was the USA TODAY for iPad which did not mention iOS 7, but said the update was related to stability improvements and bug fixes.

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