On the very eve of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the NBC News Twitter account begun posting messages saying that two civilian airplanes have been hijacked and crashed into Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers collapsed.
Eight minutes later, the message “NBCNEWS hacked by The Script Kiddies” appeared, quelling the fears of the account followers.
The group of hackers who hijacked the account have in the past also hijacked the Fox News’ Twitter account, performing a similar prank by writing that Barack Obama was shot dead, and are known for their dislike of mainstream media and their support for Anonymous and Lulzsec.
According to MSNBC, the hijacking was likely executed by using a keylogger Trojan.
NBC’s director of social media Ryan Osborn has said that only three people – including him – have the password to the account, and that he remembers receiving a suspicious looking email late last month that said: “Ryan, You need to get off TWITTER immediately and protect your family from the hurricane. That is an order.”
The sender was unknown, and he replied by asking who was it. He received back the reply “I’m the girl next door”, along with an attachment, which he thoughtlessly opened and was faced with an image of a Christmas tree.
The FBI has initiated an investigation into the matter, but have declined to comment on it, but the incident has highlighted the need for additional authentication on Twitter – at least, for the most prominent accounts.