FIFA President Sepp Blatter Twitter Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Syrian government supporters post Sepp Blatter’s resignation on his Twitter acount

FIFA President Sepp Blatter had his Twitter account compromised yesterday by hackers sympathetic to President Bashar Assad’s government in Syria, which is currently fighting a civil war in the country.

Hackers claiming to be from the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) gained access to both Blatter’s and the FIFAWorldCup accounts, taking the opportunity to falsely announce that the FIFA president was resigning.

They also suggested that bribes were offered by Qatar in exchange for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup and that Blatter had proposed Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan as his successor ahead of Jordan hosting the 2030 edition of the tournament.

Sepp Blatter Twitter hack

Sepp Blatter TwitterThe tweets have since been removed but were widely circulated among football fans and journalists before they vanished.

“I do not apologize for this my decision. I have done the best for #FIFA,” read one tweet. “For Fifteen years I have toiled for this organization #FIFA.”

Jerome Segura, senior malware researcher at Malwarebytes (which had its own security embarassment earlier this month) gave the following helpful suggestion: “I would advise Sepp to change his password to something more secure and unique to that specific account.”

The hackers may have accessed his Twitter feed through lesser known accounts which have the same password, Segura explained, allowing them to cause “short term chaos”. In the case of celebrities like Blatter, however, “Twitter will finally step in and reset the account.”

Last week, the SEA targeted American radio station NPR, hacking and posting articles on the broadcaster’s websites. It has targeted a number of media organisations over the past year, including the BBC and Al Jazeera.

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in December 2010 during a bidding process which also decided that Russia would hold the 2018 tournament. The Russian organising committee has been forced to deny that it hacked the email accounts of members of England’s bid for the tournament and those of the American bid for the 2022 edition of the tournament.

Members of the English bid had been questioned by the FBI as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption during the bidding process and the FIFA presidential election in June 2010.

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