Less than 48 hours after Reuters’ blogging platform got hacked, the news wire service once again confirms being compromised — this time via Twitter.
The first attack came Friday after Syrian hackers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad allegedly gained access to Reuters’ blogging platform, which they used to post a fake interview with rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader Riad al-Assad, as VentureBeat previously reported. The interview essentially said the general was withdrawing troops after a battle.
Presumably, the same hackers are responsible for also compromising a Reuters Twitter account dedicated to technology news, which has about 17,500 followers. The hackers proceeded to change the Twitter account handle from “@ReutersTech” to “@ReutersME” Saturday, and shifted the focus of tweets to the Middle East.
The tweets themselves were mostly pro-Syrian government messages, as well as some inflammatory statements targeted at the U.S. government. For example, one tweet stated: “Obama signs executive order banning any further investigation of 9/11,” and other indicated that FSA high-ranking officer Gen. Mustafa Al-Sheikh had died after a recent clash. The current White House administration isn’t a fan of the Syrian government, which made it more difficult for Syria (and other oppressive governments) to track dissidents on social networks back in April.
Reuters confirmed the account was compromised in a tweet this morning. The account is currently banned and awaiting review by Twitter, according to Reuters.
Reuters is hardly the only news organization that’s dealt with hacking or some form of malicious activity to compromise their credibility. This weekend also saw a hacker gain access to Wired reporter (formerly of Gizmodo) Mat Honan’s iCloud account, which led to Gizmodo’s Twitter account being compromised, as well as his own. Last week, New York Time lead tech reporter Nick Bilton was fooled into retweeting a fake op-ed column perpetrated by Wikileaks. And while Bilton’s account wasn’t hacked, the result is the same: hackers used his credibility to promote its own message.
While having (any) of your web accounts compromised is a truly awful experience, having your credibility ruined is far worse — especially if the hacked account represent a news organization.