What ties Microsoft, surveillance, Syria and the Syrian Electronic Army together?
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) yesterday hacked Skype’s WordPress and Twitter accounts. The likelihood is that the pro-Syrian group got hold of the password used by Skype’s media people, probably through its usual method of spear-phishing. My report on the incident for Infosecurity Magazine is here.
But this hack was a little different to SEA’s normal escapades. The group’s whole raison d’être is to deliver pro-Assad messages to counter what it believes is anti-Assad propaganda controlled and delivered by western governments. This is the reason that it has concentrated on attacking high-profile media companies.
Well, Skype is certainly high-profile — but the message is not ‘Syrian’. On both the Skype Twitter account and its WordPress blog the SEA message was this:
It’s a message you might more likely expect from Anonymous protesting against NSA surveillance and Microsoft complicity in that surveillance rather than a pro-Assad movement.
I asked SEA if it marked a change in its targets and tactics; and got this reply:
We can confirm that attack was done by us. and we gained access to important documents about monitoring accounts/emails by Microsoft.
It’s still about Syria. And we will detail that soon.
So that’s the big question now: what ties Microsoft, surveillance and Syria together?