Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Twitter account, @ChuckGrassley, was hacked today.
The account belonging to the Iowa Republican began Tweeting unusual content, including negative sentiments about the Senator, in the early afternoon.
Grassley had been a co-sponsor of an online piracy bill that enraged the Internet community to the point of protest last week. Since the protests, he has encouraged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to postpone the vote on the bill.
The person who first hacked into Grassley’s account tweeted, “And yes, I am an Anonymous follower,” referencing the group known for hacking into government agencies to make political statements.
While the original hacker had control of the Senator’s account, he tweeted that the account’s password was “chuck123.” The hacker then encouraged others to log in with the password. As of 2:30 p.m., the account was back under control of the Senator, and all of the tweets by the hacker had been erased.
“Grassley staff noticed the hacking after the first false Tweet was posted, and the office immediately called Twitter to obtain access to the account so the password could be changed,” Grassley Communications Director Jill Kozeny said in an email. “The password has been changed, and Senator Grassley controls the account again.”
Although Twitter could not comment on this specific incident, Twitter spokesman Adam Sharp said in an email that the company typically suggests that Congressional offices use “strong” passwords with “at least 10 characters that include upper and lower case characters, numbers and symbols.”
It looked as if the Senator’s Facebook account had also been hacked because it had been posting the same content as the hacked Twitter account. According to Kozeny, the Facebook account had not been hacked. Instead, the two social media accounts are linked so that any content posted on Twitter is automatically posted on Facebook.
The Senator’s YouTube account, SenChuckGrassley, which was posting videos as recently as one month ago, was no longer available today. Kozeny said the closing of the account was likely linked to the Twitter account being hacked.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.