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Syrian Electronic Army claims credit for hacking social media accounts of Skype

(Credit: Reuters) A page from the Skype website is seen in Singapore May 10, 2011. Skype
January 2
5:17 AM 2014

The amorphous hacker group known as the Syrian Electronic Army said they hacked into Skype's social media accounts on Wednesday, January 1, Reuters reported. The report said the hacker group is a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The group also placed Microsoft's outgoing Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer's contact information on its Twitter account together with the message, "You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA" Reuters said the message referred to Edward Snowden's revelations last year that the Internet calling service owned by Microsoft was part of the NSA's program to tap communications through some of the largest Internet firms in the US.

Another message which appeared on the official Twitter feed of Skype also read, "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon. #SEA" Like messages also appeared on the official Facebook pages of Skype as well as on Skype's website blog before it was removed late afternoon on Wednesday. The hacker group then tweeted out copies of the post "for those who missed it."

In a White House meeting last month, Microsoft and other top technology firms asked President Barack Obama to put a rein in electronic spying efforts of the government. The report said NSA's practices have made technology firms like Microsoft partners in surveillance efforts to private citizens not only in the US but in other parts of the world.

Reuters reported that the New York Times, BBC and other media outfits have also been the target of the SEA and other hacker activist groups that take over their Twitter accounts and vandalize websites.

In December last year, a district judge in the US ruled that collecting the phone records of Americans is most probably not lawful but a second federal judge later ruled that the surveillance program was constitutional, raising the probability that the US Supreme Court will need to settle the issue, the report said.

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