Financial Times becomes latest victim of Syrian Twitter hackers

The Financial Times has become the latest victim of Twitter hackers, after activists hacked accounts belonging to the newspaper, and also defaced areas of the FT site.

The activists identified themselves as the Syrian Electronic Army, and posted messages saying, “Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army,” in place of headlines on the FT’s technology blog.

Links to YouTube videos purportedly showing executions carried out by Syrian rebel groups were posted to the newspaper’s Twitter feeds. The hacks triggered renewed calls for Twitter to improve its security, according to a Reuters report. Twitter blamed spear-phishing for the spate of recent attacks on accounts owned by media companies.

“Various FT blogs and social media accounts have been compromised by hackers and we are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” the paper said in a statement.

The Syrian group has claimed responsibility for several high-profile attacks against media groups, including an attack on the main Associated Press Twitter account where hackers sent out bogus “news” about an attack on President Obama. The AP Tweet caused panic on stock markets, wiping 143 points off the Dow Jones in minutes. The group has also claimed responsibility for recent hacks against Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, and news organizations such as NPR, CBS and the BBC.

In the wake of attacks this month, Twitter send out an email to media groups saying, “We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to hackers.”

Twitter has provided media companies with guidelines on how to resist such hacks, including steps such as designating specific PCs to access company Twitter accounts.

Twitter has also been reported to be testing two-factor security systems. ESET Senior Research Fellow David Harley explains the benefits of two-factor authentication in a post here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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