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Sen. Grassley's Twitter account hacked

Social networking accounts of lawmakers could be targeted in big election year

Twitter and federal law enforcement are investigating the hacking of a U.S. Senator's Twitter account Monday afternoon.

A hacker broke into the Twitter account of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today and left a series of tweets.

The hacker didn't try to cover up the fact that the tweets weren't coming from Grassley.

The illicit tweets mocked the senator repeatedly for not having a better password and accused Grassley of supporting Internet censorship .

"Dear Iowans, vote against ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA, because this man, Chuck Grassley, wants YOUR internet censored and all of that BS," the hacker tweeted.

"Yes, its surprising that I'm actually writing in full sentences with spaces and correct grammar/spelling," he also tweeted. "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 phony tweets were removed from the site but neither the senator nor his staff have posted a statement about the hacking incident.

Jill, Kozeny, a spokeswoman for Grassley, said they have reported the incident to the Senate Sergeant at Arms, which is the law enforcement agency for the U.S. Senate, and that Twitter told her office that it has opened an investigation.

Twitter declined comment on the hacking of Grassley's account.

Kozeny said as soon as the senator's staff noticed the phony tweets, they contacted Twitter to regain control of the account. "The password has been changed and Sen. Grassley controls the account again," she added.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said the incident is more embarrassing than a problem.

Though he added that especially in an election year , politicians need to be more careful about their social media accounts.

"Politicians do need to be aware of this," Kerravala said. "Not all hackers will make it that obvious that it's not the politician [posting]. Social media has a significant impact on information distribution and it could change the opinion of people who get news first from Twitter or Facebook."

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley's Twitter account was hacked. Grassley is a Republican from Iowa.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is [email protected] .

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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