Syrian Hackers Compromise White House Staffers' Personal Email Accounts

The phishing attempt throws some interesting security details of the Obama administration's social media management into focus.

Matthew Keys, the former social media editor of Reuters who is said to have helped members of Anonymous hack the Los Angeles Times, is claiming that the personal email accounts of three White House officials have been compromised by pro-Assad hackers from Syria.

Erin Lindsay, Macon Phillips, and Adam Garber's Google Mail accounts were all phished, says Keys, and it was only a fourth White House staffer who alerted them to the danger. The attempted attack, however, shows how seriously the White House guards the security of its social media accounts: Passwords for the official accounts, which include a Tumblr feed and some varied Instagram presence, seem to be changed on a daily basis.

One of the Syrian Electronic Army hackers described the experience to Keys's blog The Desk like this: “They really were lucky. It was (a) really great experience, having a try to hack the White House. And somehow it succeeded and it failed at the same time.” Perhaps Free Syria hackers will compromise the Instagram account of the country's President, Bashar Al-Assad.

The Syrian Electronic Army is also said to have hacked into Reuters's Twitter feed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The news agency's Twitter feed was, of course, part of Keys' fiefdom when he worked there.

[Image: Flickr user acameronhuff]

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1 Comments

  • ProducerMatthew

    "The Syrian Electronic Army is also said to have hacked into Reuters's Twitter feed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The news agency's Twitter feed was, of course, part of Keys' fiefdom when he worked there."

    That's incorrect. The SEA claimed they compromised @ThomsonReuters, the corporate account for Reuters' parent company. They did not hack the @Reuters feed, which moves editorial content for the company. I was never in charge of, and never moved content on, the Thomson Reuters account.
     
    Addy, I appreciate the one-word link to my blog, which was the basis of your story (although I see you found more than one word to link to your own story on my situation). I do wish in the future you'd reach out to me before you move a story on me or the content I write -- I would be more than happy to help you get your facts straight.