The world’s governing football body and its president have been hacked on Twitter by the Syrian Electronic Army.
The takeover appears to have happened around 7:30pm tonight, as the SEA began tweeting from both FIFA and Sepp Blatter’s accounts that he was stepping down after being found guilty of corruption. Collectively, the two Twitter accounts have more than half a million followers.
UPDATE | 10:30pm
Both Twitter accounts appear to have been taken back by their owners, and the malicious tweets have been deleted.
The SEA took credit for the attack on its website, saying it was publishing the truth about FIFA awarding Qatar the World Cup.
The tweets assert that at the heart of the charges against Blatter are that he was bribed by Qatari officials to award the country the 2022 World Cup. FIFA is currently investigating corruption allegations leveled at Qatar but has not made or acted on any findings yet.
The SEA, which is loyal to Bashar Al Assad’s government and harshly critical of Qatar’s support of the Syrian rebels, took credit for the attack in some of the tweets:
Syrian Electronic Army Was Here … Follow @official_sea6 for the truth! #SEA #Syria twitter.com/FifaWorldCup/s…— FIFAWorldCup (@FifaWorldCup)
In a statement released to media tonight, FIFA acknowledged the attacks:
“We can confirm that some of FIFA’s twitter accounts, including the account of the FIFA President and @fifaworldcup, have been hacked today. “We are looking at this issue at the moment.
“In the meantime, to avoid any doubt, we kindly ask you to verify and check any statements that you see on a FIFA twitter account with the FIFA Media department ([email protected]).”
The SEA has previously hacked Al Jazeera and Qatar Foundation’s social media accounts, as well as several other international news media outlets.