Cyber-attackers hijacked a Fox News Twitter account and posted bogus messages claiming President Obama had been assassinated on Independence Day.
A group calling itself the "Script Kiddies" took over the Twitter account owned by Fox News Politics and posted multiple fake messages for at least six hours on July 4. The attack appears to have begun around 2 in the morning and lasted through the day until the Fox News team regained control of the account and removed the Tweets, according to Fox News.
"BREAKING NEWS: President @BarackObama assassinated, 2 gunshot wounds have proved too much. It's a sad 4th for #america. #obamadead RIP," read one of the messages.
Another message wished Vice President Joseph Biden the "best of luck" as the new president.
Fox News will be working with Twitter about how the attack occurred and how to prevent future "unauthorized access," Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital, said in the Fox News story.
Since the messages mentioned a presidential assassination, the Secret Service is also investigating the incident. "We will conduct the appropriate follow up," Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie told the Associated Press.
Script Kiddies targeted Fox News because "their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting," according to a story in Stony Brook University's Think Magazine. The student-run publication claimed to have interviewed a member of the group, who said several of its members had ties to the hacker's collective Anonymous. The group defaced the Twitter page by changing the Fox News Politics logo to read "H4CK3D BY TH3 5CR1PT K1DD3S."
This isn't the first time that Fox News was attacked. The LulzSec group launched its 50-day spree by gaining access to a Fox News server containing hundreds of usernames and passwords for Fox News employees and publicly released the information. LulzSec also hijacked Fox affiliates' Twitter feeds and posted bogus messages. The group also released personal information belonging to 73,000 people who applied to appear on the network's X-Factor reality show.
The Fox News staff posted "Just regained full access to our Twitter and email" just before the Obama posts appeared. It's not clear whether the Script Kiddies group posted the assassination messages after Fox News claimed to have regained control, or if another group was involved.
Regardless, the message implies that whoever hijacked the Twitter account also compromised the email address of the person administering the FoxNewsPolitics account, Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on the NakedSecurity blog. Fox employees who maintain the company's social media accounts should "refresh their knowledge of password security," Cluley wrote, and to check their computers don't have spyware or other malicious software.
Even LulzSec regularly reminded its followers the dangers of reusing passwords across multiple services and accounts. "Don't use the same password twice. Your laziness will not end well," the group warned on its Twitter feed.
Even though LulzSec has disbanded, many of its members remain active under the Anonymous banner. Anonymous went after Apple over the weekend, exposing a few usernames and passwords which were encrypted.