The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has claimed another digital scalp, following up its attack on Skype’s Twitter account earlier this month by dishing out to the same treatment to two other Microsoft feeds and its blog page.
In the early hours of 12 January Pacific time two Microsoft accounts, @MSFTnews and @XboxSupport, started spouting anti-Microsoft tweets.
The first published by the @MSFTnews feed under SEA control announced that “don’t use Microsoft emails hotmail, outlook). They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the government,” the same message used in the takeover of Skype’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and blog page on 2 January.
As with the Skype attack, the SEA also found a way into Microsoft’s official blog, redirecting it to their website. The SEA published screenshots of what appeared to be emails sentw between Microsoft employees after the blog hijack.
A notable aspect of the story is the speed with which Microsoft is reported to have responded to the Twitter hack, which suggests the firm has planned contingencies in place for such events.
At the same time the fact that several high-profile Microsoft accounts have been hijacked in short order by the same group will be embarrassing to a firm that has built its image since 2004 on a careful Software Development Lifecycle (SDL). If only the same could be easily applied to the Internet.
By Monday, the SEA’s own Twitter propaganda account was triumphantly retweeting journalist accounts of the attacks.
The SEA's attack rarely cause much more than embarrassment, which is not to say this isn't considerable. The groups numerous account takeovers - Twitter has been a running theme - has also been a major factor in Twitter tightening up its corporate account security.