Several prominent Hugo Chavez critics have been tweeting rather out-of-character things lately, thanks to a targeted attack by a group of hackers.

Venezuelan TV soap opera writer Leonardo Padron has 250,000 followers, and he regularly tweets about the failings of Chavez. But early September, his account had about-faced, tweeting nasty things about Padron himself rather than his usual anti-Chavez fare.

As Yahoo! News reports, Padron sent the following tweet on August 31st:

“Chavez knows of the immense death toll that there is in this country, so why such indifference to the subject of insecurity?”

But by September third he was tweeting:

“In no way have I contributed to combat racism, discrimination, cultural alienation. My soap operas feed these evils in our society.”

Padron is one of at least nine Chavez critics who have seen their Twitter accounts compromised lately. The identity of the hacker or hackers responsible is yet unknown, but they are calling themselves “N33″.

The hackers are clearly very pro Chavez, tweeting things like “Long live Chavez” from the hacked accounts.

Other than Padron, three journalists, an activist, a TV show host, a humorist, an ex-diplomat and a vocal supporter of Chavez are among the victims of the Twitter hacking.

Twitter believes that the victims likely lost access to their accounts due to a phishing scam, which involves users voluntarily giving up their passwords to malicious websites that appear trustworthy.

The “N33″ hackers said that the attacks were in retaliation against:

…”improper use of Twitter” and for attacking Chavez while he undergoes cancer treatment. It said Chavez’s “convalescence hasn’t been enough of a reason for these opposition characters … to diminish their load of rage and bad intentions.”

Venezuelan prosecutors are looking into the matter and are currently gathering evidence to identify the hacker and possibly press charges.

Image courtesy of Pedro Miguel Sousa via Shutterstock