A hacking crisis has led Microsoft to start 2014 on the wrong foot. The Syrian Electronic Army, an online hacking group that has pledged itself to the Syrian president, has managed to infiltrate Microsoft-owned Skype’s social media accounts, including its blog, Twitter account and Facebook page. The group left messages accusing Microsoft of sharing user data with various governments, with a tweet declaring “Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail,outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon #SEA.”
After seizing control of its accounts again, Skype issued a statement: “We recently became aware of a targeted cyber attack that led to access to Skype’s social media properties, but these credentials were quickly reset.” Anything the SEA posted was purged, and the company said no user information had been leaked.
The SEA has spent the past year attacking websites it claims are sympathetic to Syrian rebel groups. Last summer, the group took control of the website of the New York Times. It also briefly brought the US stock markets to its knees when it hacked the Associated Press’ Twitter account to post a false message about a supposed attack on the White House.