President Obama’s famed social media operation today fell victim to hackers allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
For several hours, shortened hyperlinks appearing in Obama’s Twitter feed and on his Facebook page redirected users to a graphic YouTube video reportedly produced by the Syrian Electronic Army. The group claimed responsibility for the hack in an email to Mashable, saying it was “showing the truth about Syria.”
“Thanks to our operation, Twitter now blocks Obama’s dangerous propaganda links,” the SEA wrote on its official Twitter account.
A subsequent tweet included a screenshot of the apparent hack, showing how the group might have been able to redirect Obama links to the Syrian video.
Organizing for Action, Obama’s independent political advocacy group that manages the social media accounts, confirmed to ABC News that the links were compromised. An OFA official described the episode as a “hack” on OFA’s account with a “URL link shortener” service. The links have since been repaired.
There is no indication that the hackers obtained control over Obama’s Twitter or Facebook accounts themselves or BarackObama.com. Still, the link tampering was a bold and provocative move, the latest in a string of high-profile electronic attacks on U.S. military, political and media outlets this year.
The Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility in August for disrupting The New York Times and Washington Post websites. The group allegedly defaced a Marine Corps recruitment website last month, posting a message aimed at potential U.S. troops. The group has also claimed to have commandeered Twitter feeds of news organizations and other outlets in order to protest Western coverage of the Syrian civil war.