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web site was dark Tuesday afternoon after an apparent hacking incident that a company official said was "most likely result of malicious external attack.''

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy made the announcement in a tweet at 4:26pm New York time. The site stopped functioning at about 3pm. Murphy said the newspaper was "working to fix" the problem.

The alleged hacking follows a similar shutdown on Aug. 14 when the Times' web site also went dark though the apparent cause was a "server issue," Murphy said at the time.

WSJ Pounces on Times' Website Malfunction, Lowers Paywall

For those eager to access the Times' website, users can go directly to their Internet Protocol address at

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As for the assailant, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army took responsibility for the online attack:

Hi @Twitter, look at your domain, its owned by #SEA :)


S&P 500

posted its largest drop since June on Tuesday following reports that the U.S. may spearhead a multi-country military intervention against Syria this week in response to evidence of chemical weapons. The missile strikes against the Middle Eastern nation could begin as early as Thursday.

The Times continues to emphasize growth in online subscribers to compensate for the decline in print revenues. At the end of June, the Times said digital subscribers at its U.S. and international editions had increased 35 percent to 699,000.

-- Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York

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