The branded Twitter accounts for the CBS television network news shows "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours," as well as the Twitter account of at least one CBS affiliate TV station, were hijacked over the weekend by pro-Syrian government hackers.
The accounts were used to send bogus messages that claimed that the United States government was aiding terrorists in Syria.
"Exclusive: Terror is striking the #USA and #Obama is Shamelessly in Bed with Al-Qaeda," the hijackers tweeted from the @60Minutes account.
"New Evidence of CIA Arming Al Qaeda Terrorists in #Syria," read a bogus tweet from @CBSDenver, the Twitter account of KCNC-TV.
The unauthorized messages, which, AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl said, may have contained links that led to malware, have since been removed. CBS has issued a notice and apology from the hacked accounts and from the Twitter account for CBS News.
"We have experienced problems on Twitter accounts of #60Minutes & @48Hours; We apologize for the inconvenience; Twitter is resolving issues," the @CBSNews Twitter feed said Saturday (April 20).
"PLEASE NOTE: Our Twitter account was compromised earlier today. We are working with Twitter to resolve," @60Minutes wrote after regaining control. (The "60 Minutes" Twitter account is currently suspended.)
A group sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, known as the Syrian Electronic Army, claimed responsibility for the account hijackings Sunday (April 21), reported CNET.
The Syrian Electronic Army has launched similar attacks in the past against the websites and Twitter feeds of foreign news organizations, targeting Reuters, Al-Jazeera, the BBC and, most recently, National Public Radio.
Politics aren’t the only reason for Twitter hijacks; in February, the Burger King and Jeep Twitter accounts were taken over by pranksters who used them to make jokes about McDonald's and Cadillac.
To make sure your Twitter account isn't hijacked, use a strong, hard-to-guess password for your account, and make sure that password isn't used anywhere else.
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