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Twitter suspends Syrian Electronic Army accounts after White House phishing attack

Thomson Reuters was not the only firm hit by the Syrian Electronic Army in recent days; White House staffers were also targeted by the hackers.

The group's activity prompted Twitter to suspend various SEA accounts. "The Twitter managment [sic] has suspended the SEA account today after the SEA hacked into Thomson Reuters Twitter account and try to hack the White House twitter account with some success in it," the SEA wrote on its website.

The @Official_SEA12 feed is now live. The SEA said that account came back online after it threatened to hack even more Twitter accounts, though there is no indication that that was the case.

On the @Official_SEA12 account, the SEA posted what it says is the Hootsuite login and password for the White House. Passwords it secured for the @whitehouse account were all old, the group said. "You were lucky this time," the SEA wrote.

According to Nextgov, the hackers secured data via phishing expeditions. They sent emails to White House staffers, which included links from what appeared to be news sites like CNN or BBC. After clicking on the links, however, users were asked to sign in via Gmail or Twitter in order to read them. Those links were fake, and typing in the info allowed the SEA to log the passwords that were entered and secure access to the staffers' accounts.

The hackers were likely in search of passwords for high-profile Twitter accounts, which might have been contained within one of the staffers' emails. It appears the current password for @whitehouse, however, was not stored on any of the hacked accounts, saving it from a hack, for now.

Last night, the @ThomsonReuters Twitter account was infiltrated and the SEA tweeted Syria-related tweets with photos and pro-Syria hashtags.

The Syrian Electronic Army emerged in September. The hackers reportedly started attacking Western websites in retaliation for Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islamic video that resulted in violent demonstrations in the Middle East. They have since been targeting news sites they believe are reporting news hostile to the Syrian government, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, the BBC and even The Onion.