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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.

Syrian Hackers Compromise White House Staffers’ Personal Email Accounts

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.

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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]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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