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Pres. Obama's Twitter Account Hacked: Is Anyone Completely Safe?

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Hacking attacks have been part of the Internet landscape, unfortunately, since the dawn of Cyberspace. Nevertheless, you might think that certain sites are sufficiently important and secure that they are immune to the effects of a hack attack.

But that is not necessarily the case. News accounts periodically report on hack attacks wreaking havoc on large commercial websites. And now even President Obama, the leader of the free world, is bearing the brunt of some recent hack attacks.

Indeed, according to, several websites affiliated with Organizing for Action, President Obama's advocacy group on nonprofit issues, were hit and compromised by hackers last week. Tweets emanating from the @BarackObama handle linked to YouTube videos hosted by the "Syrian Electronic Army"; such links were also provided via President Obama's Facebook fan page.

AllThingsD reports that the Syrian Electronic Army has been targeting a variety of high-profile people during the past year while attempting to gain support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. AllThingsD reports that the SEA hacked the social-networking accounts of CNN, the Guardian, the Associated Press, and other news outlets. Notably, the AP hack in April triggered a stock market "flash crash" -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130 points within minutes after the hack.

Even though hacking still occurs on the Internet and at times causes actual harm, this does not mean that we should throw up our hands and just accept this state of affairs. Efforts must be made to continue developing the best security practices and products to try to stay ahead of the evolving ingenuity of hackers as they try to disrupt the Internet.

Effective security efforts to date have helped prevent and minimize harm caused by intended hacking attacks, and the situation would be far worse without such efforts.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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