Syrian Electronic Army shanghais Microsoft's Twitter account, blog
Saturday's hack follows hijack of Skype's social media channels two weeks ago
Computerworld - A group that bills itself as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) claimed credit for grabbing control of a pair of Microsoft company Twitter accounts and the firm's primary blog for a short time Saturday.
Microsoft regained control of the Twitter accounts within hours, deleting the rogue tweets and scrubbing the unauthorized posts from its blog.
"Targeted cyberattacks temporarily affected the Xbox Support and Microsoft News Twitter accounts and the Official Microsoft Blog," a company spokesperson confirmed Monday. "The accounts were quickly reset and we can confirm that no customer information was compromised."
It was the second successful attack against Microsoft's social media presence this month. Two weeks ago the SEA hacked Skype's Twitter account, blog and Facebook page. Skype, a popular video calling, instant messaging and Internet phone service, was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
The SEA is a loose collective of hackers who profess loyalty to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is conducting a brutal war to suppress opposition groups. The group regularly targets Western websites, companies and human rights organizations with site defacements and redirects, denial-of-service attacks, and embarrassing commentary from shanghaied social media accounts.
Although some believe the SEA is supported or even controlled by Assad and his government, security researchers have found no smoking gun to connect the two. Assad has praised the SEA's work in the past, however.
Most of the SEA's hacking activity has been rapidly corrected by their victims, but the defacements and unauthorized tweets have been embarrassing, if only because they point to security issues. It's believed that the SEA gain access to websites and social media accounts by tricking employees into divulging credentials with phishing campaigns.
"Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook)," the SEA wrote on the hijacked Microsoft News account, one of two the group controlled Saturday. "They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments."
The SEA also posted images it claimed were of Microsoft internal emails related to the weekend attack, including one allegedly from Steve Clayton, the Microsoft manager of its official blog and Twitter account, to several Microsoft public relations staffers, including Frank Shaw, who heads all corporate communication at the Redmond, Wash. company.
In the purported email, Clayton named bitly, the URL shortening service, as the "backdoor that has been found."
Microsoft declined to answer questions about how the SEA was able to access the emails it claimed were from Microsoft employees.
According to the RSS feed of Microsoft's blog, the SEA published 20 posts before Microsoft regained control. All read, "Syrian Electronic Army was here," much like the WWII-era graffiti "Kilroy was here" once proclaimed.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.> >
- Cyberattacks could paralyze U.S., former defense chief warns
- Syrian Electronic Army shanghais Microsoft's Twitter account, blog
- Is French outrage against U.S. spying misplaced?
- Lawmakers seek answers on Obamacare Data Hub security
- China-based hacking group behind hundreds of attacks on U.S. companies
- How to Prepare for a Potential Syrian Counterattack on the U.S. Power Grid
- New York Times site outage caused by attack on domain registrar, company says
- Cyber drills like Quantum Dawn 2 vital to security in financial sector
- Quantum Dawn 2 will test Wall Street's cyber readiness
- Pentagon accuses China of cyberattacks on U.S military, business targets
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts