January 2, 2014
Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Skype’s Social Media Feeds, Posts Content
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The blog and social media accounts of Microsoft-owned voice-over-IP (VOIP) service Skype were hacked by a group claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) on Wednesday, various media outlets have reported.
The SEA, which is an organization that supports Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and has previously hacked the websites of CNN and the New York Times, apparently posted messages critical of Microsoft for sharing user data with the US and international governments, according to a Wall Street Journal blog.
The hackers posted several tweets through Skype’s Twitter account, including one that simply said “stop spying on people” in reference to recent NSA accusations levied against Microsoft, according to Tom Warren of The Verge. Another told the VOIP service’s roughly three million Twitter followers not to use the Microsoft’s email programs because the company was “monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments.”
According to CNET.com, a similar incident occurred at the Skype company blog, in which the hackers posted the headline “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army.. Stop Spying!” Meanwhile, the company’s Facebook page included a post identical to the tweet warning against use of Microsoft’s Hotmail and Outlook email services. The posts have since been deleted.
Skype acknowledged to BBC News that they had been hacked, but assured users that none of their data had been compromised in the attack.
“Today’s events are most likely linked to the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs uncovered by former contractor Edward Snowden,” said Yeung, who managed to obtain screenshots of some of the hackers’ posts before they were deleted. “Documents from the NSA’s PRISM program apparently indicate that the secretive agency could spy on Skype audio and video calls thanks to backdoor access – which was contrary to Skype’s insistence that its service could not be wiretapped.”
“Later on Wednesday, a Twitter account used by the SEA also posted an image of what appeared to be Microsoft employee account data, showing Steve Ballmer’s company email address, phone number and his office number at Microsoft headquarters,” added the Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide.
Ovide added that it was “not clear why the SEA singled out Skype” and noted that Microsoft officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.