Obama’s Facebook and Twitter Compromised by Syrian Hackers

Barack Obama

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a Syrian based hacker group known for redirection and denial of service attacks on media and political targets, briefly altered links from Obama’s social media sites to point to videos created by the SEA.

The attack was made possible not by hacking the websites, but by compromising the link shortening service that the President’s campaign team used on several websites.

According to the SEA’s twitter feed, for a while Twitter eventually blocked the links all together and visitors saw this:

Barack Obama 2

In a series of e-mails to news site Mashable, allegedly the SEA hackers claimed they compromised BarackObama.com by attacking one of the site’s administrators:

“In a follow-up email, the SEA provided screenshots that show how it altered the links in Obama’s social media posts. The group appears to have hacked the email address of Suzanne Snurpus, one of the administrators of BarackObama.com, and it gained access to a control panel for the site.”

For more information see the Mashable website.

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Voting Machines Auto-Selecting Obama; Calibration issue or are they Hacked?

Numerous reports are surfacing about touch screen voting machines automatically selecting Obama, even when Mitt Romney was chosen. Even when Mitt was repeatedly pressed, the system selected Obama. Is this a touchscreen calibration issue, or could the machines have been hacked?

According to Foxnews one voter had to press Romney three times before it would take:

She said that the first time she pushed “Romney,” the machine marked “Obama.” So she pushed Romney again. Obama came up again. Then it happened a third time. “Maybe you make a mistake once, but not three times,” she told Fox News.

It could be a calibration issue, “This phenomenon can occur when a machine goes out of calibration. The need to re-calibrate frequently is an important reason for discarding these aging, unreliable, and inaccurate machines and replacing them with paper ballots,” said Barbara Simons a member of the US Election Board of Advisors.

And according to reports, in one location a machine that was suspect was taken out of service and recalibrated. But with reports coming in from several states, concerning numerous machines, could something else be going on?

A year ago the Vulnerability Asset Team of Argonne National Lab showed that some of the touchscreen voting devices could be hacked very easily. According to a CNNMoney report, on one model all it would take would be physical access to the system, a paper clip, and about $20 worth of electronics. And in under a minute they could have remote access to the device with the ability to change someone’s vote.

When I touch the touchscreen, that is going to send a signal to the CPU“, says Jon Warner of Argonne Laboratory in the video above. “Well, the CPU is going to respond back with something. And all I did was intercept that communication flow. If I like the vote, fine, let it go through. If I don’t, I change it.”

Many of these machines have the ability to dump a printed copy of who was voted for, but shockingly some do not, and there is no way to physically validate the votes.

Calibration issue or not, this is going to be a very close election and it does not bode well that there are already issues with the voting systems.