Pro-Assad group hacks Obama-linked website

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 9:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 9:43pm

The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, seized control of an online tool used by an advocacy organisation for US President Barack Obama to redirect links sent from his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The link shortener used by Organising for Action, a group that evolved from Obama's reelection campaign, was briefly hacked on Monday, an official from the group said. Link shorteners abbreviate web links so they take up less space in a tweet, which is limited to 140 characters.

Obama's Facebook and Twitter pages carried links that were intended to take readers to a Washington Post story on immigration - but as a result of the hack, redirected readers to a video of the Syrian conflict instead.

However, Obama's Twitter account itself was not hacked, Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said.

Obama rarely writes his own tweets from the BarackObama Twitter handle, which is run by the Organising for Action staff. However, when he does, they are signed with his initials.

The Syrian Electronic Army tweeted: "We accessed many Obama campaign emails (sic) accounts to assess his terrorism capabilities. They are quite high." It showed what appeared to be the Google e-mail account of an Organising for Action employee.

The Syrian Electronic Army has undertaken several highprofile hacking attempts in the United States. In September it appeared to have struck a recruiting website for the US Marine Corps, and the FBI that month also warned that the group might intensify its internet attacks as the United States weighed a military strike against Syria.