Monday, 19 January 2015

Hackers attack Twitter: Announce World War III

On Friday, hackers attacked Twitter accounts of two media groups to announce the beginning of Third World War. A fake message posted by hackers on Twitter stated that the US and Chinese Navy were attacking warships of each other in the South China Sea. The media groups whose Twitter accounts were hacked include News Corp-owned New York Post and the United Press International (UPI).

Image by Eric Fischer [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
The spokesperson for the New York Post said in her message said that she confirmed the hacking incident. She also said that this hacking incident is being thoroughly investigated to identify the group behind these attacks.

One bogus message posted from UPI account showed Pope Francis declaring the beginning of WWIII.

Another tweet about the war said that Chinese warships and the US aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, were combating each other in the South China Sea. This tweet was posted from a New York Post Twitter account.

WWIII was not the only topic to be discussed in fake tweets. A message on New York Post’s Twitter feed was regarding the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve. It said that according to the Bank of America CEO, Federal Reserve’s decisions will have no effect on savings accounts.

Washington-based UPI also confirmed the hacking incident. A company spokesperson said that there were six bogus tweets posted within a period of a few minutes. UPI also confirmed the incident of its website hacking in which the fake news about Federal Reserve was posted. The access to the website was denied by the technical staff once the matter was reported.

Most likely, a malware program was used for signing into the Twitter accounts. All the fake tweets were removed quickly.

This Twitter hacking incident is latest in the series of cyber attacks on media, corporate, and government networks. In the past few months, many media houses, including BBC, have reported hacking of their Twitter feeds. A few days back, Pentagon reported hacking of its Central Command Twitter feed by a Jihadi group. Last year, Sony Pictures Entertainment and JPMorgan Chase reported hacking of their networks and stealing of their confidential data by hackers.

In 2013, hackers took over the Twitter account of Associated Press (AP) and posted a false story about a bombing in the White House. This incident badly affected the US stock market where stocks of many companies slipped heavily. After this incident, Twitter strengthened security of its networks by implementing a new authentication protocol for its users.

According to a senior Pentagon officer, there is no hostile situation developing between China and the US in South China Sea. The US Navy has also confirmed that its aircraft carrier, mentioned in fake tweets, is currently in port.

Twitter has declined commenting on this incident. It said the company cannot discuss individual accounts due to security reasons.

Author: Devender Kundaliya