Report: US hacked al Qaeda's online magazine

Security officials told The Post that the attack was the latest attempt by the U.S. to disrupt the distribution of al Qaeda propaganda online. Another version of the magazine appeared online a few days after, however, and hailed the Boston bombing attack.

Al Qaeda-linked websites have been hit with cyberattacks before. The Christian Science Monitor reported this spring that several websites tied to the terrorist group had been knocked offline for nearly two weeks after allegedly suffering a cyberattack. 

The affected sites had been used to distribute al Qaeda propaganda and it was believed that Israel was the source of the attacks.

The Post report is the latest revelation about the U.S. intelligence community actively using the Internet as a tool to clamp down on terrorism. It also shows the U.S. has used online attacks waged in cyberspace to disrupt extremist propaganda.

Last week, The Guardian and Washington Post reported that a surveillance program run by the National Security Agency had allowed the spy agency to obtain access to the contents of people's online data—including emails and video chats—after it obtained an order from a secret FISA court. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said the program was aimed at thwarting terrorism.

The revelations about the controversial surveillance program, called PRISM, has sparked an uproar in Congress.