Hackers target President Obama’s social media tools

The political activist hackers of the Syrian Electronic Army are at it again, targeting one of the highest-profile users of social media in the world: President Obama. But SEA’s claims of commandeering his Twitter account aren’t quite accurate.

For a few hours, posts on the President’s Facebook and Twitter accounts directed users to YouTube videos uploaded by SEA, and to the SEA website itself. The hackers also posted an image of a Gmail inbox belonging to an employee of Organizing for Action, an official promotional website for President Obama’s various political initiatives.

On the face of it, this looks like a very serious hack of the President’s accounts — but in fact, neither of those accounts was actually compromised, an OFA official told the Associated Press. Like its other high-profile attacks over the last year (The New York Times, Washington Post, and Guardian, among others), SEA’s technique was deceptively unsophisticated.

Instead of coding a special virus or decrypting critical communications, the SEA in all cases manages to get hold of the username and password of someone related to the website or account in question, and simply logs in with their credentials.

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