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NBC News Twitter feed hacked with fake terrorism post

September 9, 2011 |  4:43 pm


NBC News' Twitter account was hacked Friday with a false post about an alleged attack on ground zero, yet another sign that the microblogging service used by many news and entertainment organizations suffers from some security loopholes.

"The NBC News Twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on Ground Zero were sent to @NBCNews followers," NBC said in a statement. "We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act."

Anchor Brian Williams apologized for the mishap during his "Nightly News" broadcast.

Readers of the Twitter feed saw a message that read, "Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47. #groundzeroattacked." NBC News later removed the tweet.

The hacking was blamed on a group called the Script Kiddies, which was attempting to promote its own Twitter feed. That account, @s_kiddies, has since been suspended.

News organizations have learned the hard way that, as useful as it can be, Twitter is not a secure means of transmitting information. Earlier this summer, a Fox News feed was hacked with a tweet that falsely reported that President Obama had been killed.

In fact, as hacking goes, breaking into a Twitter account does not seem exceptionally difficult. Plugging "How to Hack Twitter" into a Google search returns dozens of entries with supposed hacking recipes.


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Photo: Brian Williams apologized after NBC News' Twitter feed was hacked. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times.