Instead of posting messages pertaining to the Syrian government, this group decided to focus on something that hits home to all users: privacy on the Web
The Syrian hacker group strikes again, this time with a successful breach of Skype and its associated social accounts. Unlike previous breaches, this time the group focused on related privacy and made it clear to users that they’re being monitored and that they should stop using the services of Microsoft.
Maintaining the network
As part of the attack that took place last night, the group known as the Syrian Electronic Army (or SEA) hacked into Skype’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as Skype’s official blog. Each of the statements posted on another rent but the underlying theme was the same, warning users not to use email from Microsoft (Hotmail and Outlook) because the company keeps track of accounts and sells the information to the government.
The hacker group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks over recent years including attacks on universities, LinkedIn, news sites, Twitter and even two Israelis Services; Viber hacked in July of 2013 and Outbrain the following month in August. But this time it seems that the group has a slightly different choosing to highlight American government ‘evils’ instead of sticking to its own native governmental issues under the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Perhaps trying to drum up sympathy from the US public by harping on an issue that they can relate to, i.e. their privacy. By taking on the issues of Microsoft and the NSA domestic spying affair and claiming that the NSA is using “back door” access to monitor Skype video and audio calls of users, the SEA might be trying to draw an emotional connection of users against all intrusive government in the hopes that the American public will be more actively sympathetic
to what’s going on in Syria, especially after the intervention by Russian president Vladimir Putin which seems to have taken the issue off of the public agenda.
Back to normal
As for now Skype has managed to remove all the posts from its profiles and published formal reference to the matter on their Twitter account . The company tweeted that users must have noticed that it was a victim of an attack earlier today, but no personal information relating to users was exposed during the breach. Skype apologized for the inconvenience caused by the attack and it seems that it has received mostly positive and supportive feedback from its users.
Unlike other breaches from the SEA, it seems that this time Skype got off easy. The attack on their social accounts does not pose much of a risk except from a PR standpoint. It can also serve as a warning to beef up security in an effort to prevent the next attack which might not be so superficial.