Weakest link

Confirmed: Obama’s campaign emails and Twitter links were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army

October 28, 2013
October 28, 2013

The Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-regime collective of hackers, has done it again, only this time the target they’ve compromised is an organization with close ties to the president of the United States.

In a statement on Twitter, the SEA said it “accessed many Obama campaign emails accounts to assess his terrorism capabilities. They are quite high.” Quartz has confirmed with the campaign staffer whose compromised email address is included in the posting that her account was hacked over the weekend, along with “lots” of other volunteers for Obama’s Organizing for Action grass roots campaign organization.

“We’ve taken measures to correct it,” says Suzanne Snurpus. “And we’ve all changed our passwords and added an extra layer of login security.” That “extra layer” is Google’s two-step authentication, which helps prevent unauthorized logins by linking an email address to an existing cell phone number.

Snurpus says she isn’t sure what damage the hackers managed to do before they were detected and shut down, but today all the shortened links in Obama’s Twitter account (with 39 million followers) managed by Organizing for Action were for a time redirecting to a video created by the Syrian Electronic Army. It’s not clear what, if any, sensitive information the SEA was able to access by hacking into the email accounts of volunteers for a not-for-profit campaign organization, even if it’s associated with Obama.

This story is developing, and we’ll update as we learn more.

Update:

The SEA appears to have searched through the accounts it gained access to for any information that would be damaging to Obama. So far they haven’t exactly found any bombshells. For example, here they are tweeting a screen shot suggesting that Obama’s campaign was behind in paying ShortSwitch, the company responsible for their link shortening on Twitter.

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