January 13, 2014
Syrian Electronic Army Takes Command Of Microsoft Accounts
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Microsoft’s Twitter accounts were the targets of the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) over the weekend, 10 days after the group took over Skype’s social media accounts.
The hacking group posted pro-Syria messages and criticized Microsoft after hijacking the company’s Twitter accounts. Microsoft shut down the accounts for “maintenance” after discovering that they had been compromised.
The Syria hacking collective posted messages on Microsoft’s @MSFTnews and @XboxSupport Twitter accounts, as well as the company’s official blog on TechNet. The messages told people to stop using Hotmail and Outlook, saying that Microsoft monitored the services and sold information to governments.
On Microsoft’s news Twitter feed the hackers posted a message that said “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here via @Official_SEA16 #SEA,” as well as a picture of the Syrian flag drawn up by binary code.
An SEA member known as “Syrian Eagle” told Mashable in an email that this was just the beginning.
“Microsoft is monitoring emails [sic] accounts and selling the data for the American intelligence and other governments. And we will publish more details and documents that prove it. Microsoft is not our enemy but what they are doing affected the SEA,” Syrian Eagle told the Tech news site.
SEA also Tweeted a screen shot of an internal company email discussing the recent hacks. The email basically acknowledged that the company’s Twitter handles were attacked and that Microsoft was in the process of changing passwords.
"Microsoft is aware of targeted cyberattacks that temporarily affected the Xbox Support and Microsoft News Twitter accounts. The accounts were quickly reset and we can confirm that no customer information was compromised," a Microsoft spokesperson told Mashable on Saturday.
When asked about SEA’s assertion about whether or not Microsoft was giving user data to governments, the company told Mashable, “We’re actively investigating issues and are focused on protecting our employees and corporate network. Microsoft is sometimes obligated to comply with legal orders from governments around the world and provides customer data only in response to specific, targeted, legal demands.”
The Microsoft hacks came just 10 days after SEA hacked into the social media accounts of Skype. During this hack, the group posted similar claims on Skype’s blog and Twitter account, saying user data was also not safe from being sold.
Other companies that have fallen prey to the Syrian hacktivists have included Al-Jazeera, the hacker group Anonymous, Associated Press (AP), BBC, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Human Rights Watch, and National Public Radio.
When SEA hacked AP’s Twitter account, it posted that the White House had been bombed and President Barack Obama had been injured. This attack actually sent stock markets dropping more than $100 billion.