Syrian Electronic Army compromise Skype social media accounts

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A screen capture provided to The Desk purports to show the compromised Skype Twitter account. (The Desk)

A screen capture provided to The Desk purports to show the compromised Skype Twitter account. (The Desk)

The Syrian Electronic Army compromised social media profiles used by Microsoft’s Skype service on Wednesday, the first attack by the pro-Syria group of the new year.

A hacker with the group sent The Desk a Twitter URL just before noon on Wednesday, confirming the group’s involvement in the attack.

The group posted a message on the Skype Twitter account that read: “Stop spying on people!” The tweet contained a link to a post on a compromised Skype blog that read “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army.. Stop Spying!”

Later, the group posted anti-Microsoft messages on Skype’s Facebook page, encouraging fans to stop using Microsof’t Outlook and Hotmail email products.

“Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail,outlook),” the message on Facebook read. “They are monitoring your accounts and selling it to governments. More details soon.”

The messages were scrubbed from Skype’s social media profiles about an hour later.

The compromised blog post carried the byline of Skype’s social media editor Shana Pearlman, suggesting the group compromised one of Pearlman’s accounts.

The initial tweet sent by the SEA mentioned the Twitter account @FBIPressOffice, a social media profile used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to publish press releases and other news-related information.

Last week, a New York Times report claimed the FBI had begun emailing American companies warning them of impending cyber attacks by the SEA. The pro-Syria hacking group later denied the report.

In the past, the SEA has been known to compromise social media profiles belonging to western news organizations through phishing campaigns. Once compromised, the group usually posts messages it considers to be pro-Syria — messages that often speak against rebel groups fighting in the country’s two year-long civil conflict.

Wednesday’s attack was unusual in that the group made no mention of the conflict; instead, the group seemed to accuse Microsoft of engaging in surveillance against its own users.

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