Skip to main content

Syrian Electronic Army targets FC Barcelona in latest cyber-hack

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has hijacked yet another high profile social media account, with FC Barcelona's Twitter profile the rather unlikely target.

"Dear FC Barcelona management, Don't let the Qatari money funds you, it's full of blood and kill (sic)", the hackers wrote in a tweet last night posted on the club's Twitter feed.

A few minutes later the post was followed up with: "Special Hi to @RealMadrid!"

Both tweets included the hashtag #SEA and came via the Twitter account @Official_SEA16, the same account that claimed responsibility for the recent hacking of several Microsoft social media accounts (opens in new tab).

Since forming in 2011, the SEA has successfully carried out security breaches on a number of Western companies and organisations, including the Guardian, the New York Times and a Twitter feed belonging to US President Barack Obama.

The group are understood to be loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, however the motives behind the various attacks do not appear to be exclusively aimed at supporting the president.

This morning the Spanish football club responded to the hack, tweeting: "This twitter account has been used fraudulently. The improper tweets have been removed. We apologise for any inconvenience".

Related: Revenge hack – Syrian Electronic Army gets owned by Turkish hackers (opens in new tab)

The method of hacking used by the group is believed to be similar for all of the attacks.

Rick Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro (opens in new tab), previously told ITProPortal that it was most likely a phishing scam aimed at employees at the chosen target.

"Key individuals in the target enterprise would have received well-crafted and convincing emails, either with a malicious file attached, or containing a credible-looking link," Ferguson said.

"Once compromised through either infection or phishing, then the account usernames and passwords would be available to the attacker, allowing further malicious activity."