The FBI is probing the hacking of the NBC News Twitter account on Friday, when unknown perpetrators posted a bogus message alleging a civilian airliner had been hijacked and crashed into New York’s Ground Zero, reports NBC News.
The fake postings were quickly removed after they appeared on the main NBC News Twitter account, the story says. That account is "tightly controlled," the piece notes, with only three NBC News executives knowing the password.
Anchor Brian Williams addressed the hacking on the NBC Nightly News on Friday, noting that the network was "working with Twitter to correct the situation" and apologizing "for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act," the story says.
The FBI said its computer crimes unit is investigating the hacking, although it declined to identify suspects. When the attack was committed, the hackers changed the NBC News Twitter profile to say they were "The Script Kiddies," a group that split off from better-known hacking groups "Anonymous" and "LulzSec," the piece notes.
The false tweets seemed to "spread maximum alarm," the story says. The first message read, "Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. more as the story develops." A follow-up message four minutes later added, "Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47."
Another message three minutes later said, ""This is not a joke. Ground Zero has just been attacked. We’re attempting to get reporters on the scene." Another message then appeared, telling the feed’s 130,000 followers, "NBCNEWS hacked by The Script Kiddies."