The Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hackers that supports the Assad regime, claims it has hacked the database server of messaging and social networking service, Tango.
The group posted the following message to its website Friday:
The Syrian Electronic Army hacked the Tango app (video/text messages service) website and database
The databases content a of millions of the app users phone numbers and contacts and their emails
More than 1,5 TB of the daily-backups of the servers network has been downloaded successfully
Much of the information in the databases that were downloaded will be delivered to the Syrian government
The posting also includes screenshots that claim to be of a backup folder from the application’s servers, the app log and the backup folder size.
The Syrian Electronic Army also has a history of hijacking the social media accounts of major news and entertainment outlets to disseminate disinformation and pro-Assad messaging. It typically carries out such attacks by means of phishing messages, in which a user is tricked into clicking on a link that enables hackers to access the account. One of SEA’s most notable attacks was on the Associated Press Twitter account, through which it posted tweets falsely claiming that explosions had gone off at the White House and injured President Obama. The tweet caused the Dow Jones industrial average to temporarily plummet.
Syrian state television also announced the Tango hacking, indicating records of local users had been seized by the hackers, according to the Associated Press.
It also made reference to another hacking last week by the Syrian Electronic Army, when SEA claimed to have hacked the database of Truecaller and bragged of having gained access to social media account information of users.
While Truecaller acknowledged the cyberattack, it denied that any sensitive information or social media passwords for its users were obtained by the hackers, adding, “It is false information that attackers were able to access our users’ Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media passwords.”
Indeed, there is often some disinformation mixed in with such claims when it comes to hackers. So it’s difficult to know how much of this most recent claim is accurate, unless and until Tango issues a statement. As of this writing, it had not yet made any statement regarding the Syrian Electronic Army’s hacking claim.
If the hacking claims do prove to be true, as the Associated Press points out, this could pose risks especially for activists in and around Syria who oppose the Assad regime. Many use social networking and messaging applications in lieu of standard telephone communication, amidst fears of government phone monitoring.
Tango started out as a chat/messaging application, but has increasingly added features to expand and market its service as a social networking and entertainment platform. A recent release also introduced capabilities for mobile app developers in the gaming industry, further expanding its focus and reach.
Tango.me is based in Mountain View, California and boasts 130+ million users.
Read previous coverage of the Syrian Electronic Army.DONATE
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