As many of us were enjoying the celebration of yet another revolution around the sun, Skype was busy getting their accounts attacked by cyber hackers. The Syrian Electronic Army allegedly decided to break into Skype’s Twitter, Facebook, and blog pages to deliver a message that the company was spying on the public.
The hacks line up with the government surveillance programs being conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency. An issue that was first brought to light by whistleblower, Edward Snowden, found Microsoft to be one of the companies supposedly cooperating. Microsoft has released numerous statements that they and their subsidiaries (including Skype), have not been cooperating with the government’s infamous PRISM program. In fact, they have joined a consortium of tech companies suing the government over proper transparency.
The tweet from the Syrian Electronic Army stated the following: “Stop spying on people! Via Syrian Electronic Army”. The tweet also included mentions to both the Official Syrian Electronic Army and the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation’s press office. And of course, it is 2014, so they included a hashtag – “#SEA”.
The Syrian Electronic Army itself is a group of individuals who support the current president of Syria; although the group itself is not publicly sanctioned by the Syrian government, they claim to act in its interest. The SEA has been known for its work in the past, such as hacking The New York Times, The BBC UK, and Twitter.
Facebook saw a similar message, but went into greater depth detailing not to use specific services from Microsoft including Hotmail/Outlook.
“Don’t use Microsoft emails (Hotmail, outlook),” the post said, “They are monitoring your accounts and selling it to the governments. More details soon. #SEA”
Skype’s personal blog also contained the same message along with a post stating “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army… Stop Spying!” A Skype spokesperson responded to the incident and insured all Skype users that the breech was simply of the company’s social media information and not any user data.
“We recently became aware of a targeted cyber-attack that led to access to Skype’s social media properties, but these credentials were quickly reset. No user information was compromised.”
If you had heard about the incident yesterday, you can now rest safe today knowing that your data is in fact safe – Skype on Microsoft fans!