A ‘hacktivist’ group which commandeered American broadcaster NBC’s official Twitter feed to propagate false rumours of an ongoing terrorist attack in New York have had their account disabled.
Twitter reacted quickly to stem the flow of misinformation by suspending the account of the group – but not before they had tweeted several scare stories claiming a plane had crashed at New York’s Ground Zero.
In one of several fake tweets issued from the NBC account the group, calling themselves the Script Kiddies, wrote: “Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops.”
It was left to Luke Russert, NBC News political correspondent, to clear up the mess, tweeting: "Please ignore NOT TRUE tweets coming from @NBC News. We got hacked by tasteless despicable attention seeking criminals."
Th US is on high alert for a potential terrorist attack as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches tomorrow.
The hacking of online news feeds is a growing concern. On July 4 The Fox News Twitter account was hacked -- apparently also by the Script Kiddies -- to falsely report that the president had been assassinated.
Later in July the so-called hacking collective Lulz Security took over the website of the Sun to falsely report that Rupert Murdoch, chairman-CEO of News Corp., had been found dead in his garden.
But NBC's apparent posts reporting an attack on Ground Zero are the most alarming incident yet.
Questions about the security of Twitter accounts may now become an issue not just for Twitter technicians - but Edelman, said to be Twitter's new PR agency.