Anonymous exploits weak passwords of Syrian officials
Hacktivist group Anonymous has polarized the online security community in recent months. Some experts have dismissed its actions as little more than digital disruptions, whereas law enforcement officials suggest that the cybercrime syndicate could be a national security threat. Another chapter was added to the story last week as Anonymous directed its efforts toward the Syrian government to expose sensitive details regarding the inner workings of an oppressive regime.
Anonymous reportedly gained access to the email inboxes of nearly 80 staffers working within the Syrian government. To say the password manager strategies deployed by Assad administration officials were inadequate would be a bit of an understatement. Hackers revealed that "12345" was the code of choice guarding several accounts.
"Even the hacker group's critics probably won't have much sympathy for its victim in the Syria security hack," noted InfoBoom columnist Rick Robinson. "The authoritarian Assad government has been denounced by the Arab League, the U.S. and other countries around the world."
According to PC Magazine, one of the more embarrassing revelations came through the interception of a document containing talking points that Assad's handlers suggested he focus on in a recent interview with American press. The brief suggested that American psyche could be "easily manipulated" with several clever reinterpretations of the facts surrounding police brutality.