Updated: 4:52 pm ET Monday, January 23
Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) Twitter account was apparently hacked on Monday afternoon by someone claiming to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous.
“Dear Iowans, vote against ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA, because this man, Chuck Grassley, wants YOUR internet censored and all of that BS,” read a message posted on Grassley’s official Twitter account at 1:28 pm ET.
“And yes, I am an Anonymous follower,” the account tweeted moments later, followed by “Yes I was hacked” and “Wow, Chuck hasn’t even changed his password.”
The apparent hacker also noted that “uh-oh looks like Chuck is online too,” yet continued to tweet, even mentioning a specific location: “Well, its been fun getting Chuck’s account this week, so I better get off. I got nothing better to do since we got a snow day here in Osage.”
The reference appeared to be to Osage, Iowa, which was experiencing blowing snow conditions at the time of the hacking.
At 1:55 pm, the apparent hacker tweeted: “Hey guys let’s have a contest: Whoever can change the password to this account the quickest has to tweet to me whoever got it. ok? ready?” The account then tweeted a password it said was to Grassley’s account and asked “Anyone get it?”
Grassley was one of the three original co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), a piece of controversial anti-online piracy legislation together with its sister in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), inspired mass online protests by the Web on Wednesday, January 18.
Following the protests, numerous lawmakers came out against the bills, including many former co-sponsors. Grassley did not renounce his sponsorship. Congressional leadership on Friday indefinitely postponed all further action on the bills, handing a huge victory to a growing chorus of critics in the tech sector.
First update: The Grassley Twitter account has apparently shifted hands between several unauthorized users, with the latest tweet reading: “To clarify, I’m not the person that originally hacked the account. I think that person got their point across.”
Second update: An endorsement from one of the apparent hackers for Herman Cain seems to have been taken seriously by some of Grassley’s followers.
“I really wanted Herman Cain to get president this year,” the Grassley account tweeted at 1:42 pm ET, to which a follower asked “Senator, surely you jest. What is this tweet about? #HermanCain.”
Third update: The latest user of the account appears to have been attempting save Grassley further pain and trouble, tweeting: “Someone from the Senators office contact me at the email i set up at email@example.com and I’ll give you the new password.” Their plan seems to have worked, as the account has gone silent for now.
Meanwhile, Grassley was apparently informed of the hacking will en-route to Washington, D.C. from Des Moines. As Josh Hafner at the Des Moines Register reported:
Grassley spokeswoman Beth Pellett Levine confirmed his Twitter account was hacked.”We’re trying to get to the bottom of it,” she said.The senator was on an airplane this afternoon when the fake messages began appearing online. His flight from Des Moines to Washington, D.C. was diverted to Newport News, Va., and while he was in the airport there, staff let him know about the hacking.
Fourth update: All of the unauthorized tweets have been deleted. Grassley’s office appears to have regained control of his account. Phew!
Fifth update: The user who saved Grassley’s Twitter account from the original hacker told TPM via email that he or she was “just someone that follows the senator on Twitter,” and “actually pretty liberal and a democrat.”
The user told TPM: “It was pretty obvious it was hacked when the person started tweeting about Anonymous…I don’t support SOPA, etc. either but I’d be pretty unhappy if I was hacked, etc., so I figured I’d do the right thing and once I got logged in I switched the password so I could return it to the Senator…, I was just trying to something nice.”
Sixth update: Sen. Grassley’s account tweeted at around 4:30 pm ET: “FYI my Twitter acct no longer compromised. Tweets not mine have been deleted.”