Security Advisor

Microsoft's News and Xbox Twitter Accounts Hacked

The hacker collective Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the hacks and posted fake messages warning that Microsoft is spying on users' e-mail accounts.

On Saturday individuals identifying with the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacking group infiltrated Microsoft's Twitter account to post messages warning that the company is spying on users' e-mail and Skype accounts.

The latest event by the hacker collective known for using DDoS attacks against groups and Web sites it sees as opponents on a number of social issues comes after the New Years' Day hack of Microsoft's Skype social media and blog, in which it condemned Microsoft for spying on users.

This weekend's compromise began with the reposting of a message first posted during the previous hack: "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the government."

The next message, also posted to the Microsoft News Twitter account, was a shot at the company's Internet Explorer Web browser: "Leak: The top two visited links from @IE: google.com/chrome and mozilla.org/firefox/ #SEA."

Along with the unauthorized access to the Microsoft News Twitter, individuals claiming to be part of the same group also infiltrated the Xbox support Twitter account and posted messages taking  credit for the hack, along with posting a spoof message about a nonexistent game.

Microsoft immediately deleted the messages once the account compromise was discovered and, as with the Skype incident, Microsoft sent a message saying all user data is secure. "Microsoft is aware of targeted cyberattacks that temporarily affected the Xbox Support and Microsoft News Twitter accounts," read a released statement by Microsoft. "The accounts were quickly reset and we can confirm that no customer information was compromised."

An SEA member called "Syrian Eagle" sent an e-mailed statement to the social media and news blog site Mashable saaying that, while Microsoft is not the groups' enemy, the allegations of participation in government surveillance programs hurts the group. "Microsoft is monitoring emails accounts and selling the data for the American intelligence and other governments," read the e-mail. "And we will publish more details and documents that prove it."

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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