Aug. 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM ET
UPDATED, Aug. 6, 12:18 p.m. ET --
The Reuters news service suffered a second successful hacker attack this weekend, just 48 hours after a computer intruder was able to post fake news stories on its web site. In Sunday's attack, a small Reuters Twitter feed -- @ReutersTech , with 17,000 followers -- was briefly controlled by hackers.
An archive of posts made to the @ReutersMe account, viewable Monday on Topsy.com, show 22 rapid-fire Tweets were published on Sunday; some clearly contained pro-Syrian government messages, such as: "FSA commander Riyad Al Asaad states a tactical withdrawal from Aleppo imminent."
Others didn't discuss the Syrian conflict, such as this: "Obama signs executive order banning any further investigation of 9/11. "
The Twitter hack comes after Reuters said Friday that its blog platform was hacked and that a fake news story regarding the conflict in Syria had been posted.
A spokesperson for Reuters confirmed the attack to NBC News.
"A false blog posting, purporting to carry an interview with the head of the Free Syrian Army Riad al-Asaad ... was illegally posted on a Reuters journalist's blog page," said a post on the Reuters Twitter feed, which is followed by nearly 2 million people. "Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted."
It wasn't clear if any Reuters subscribers picked up the story and ran it in their publications; Reuters refused to answer additional questions about the incident. But the fake post was on the site for roughly 6 hours, according to the time stamp on a Reuters web page where one of the posts was initially published.
Initial word of the hack came via the Reuters Twitter feed just after 1 p.m. ET on Friday.
“Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday. Our blogging platform was compromised," the Twitter feed said. "…And fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists. We are working to address the problem."
News services have long been an attractive target for hackers looking to get attention, dating back the early days of the Internet, when a denial of service attack made many major news sites unavailable for several days; other attacks have rendered sites unavailable for brief periods as a form protest. But attention-getting hacks have always been little more than pranks. The real danger of a news site attack comes from a quiet hack that potentially spreads falsehoods under what appears to be the banner of an unbiased news service.
It's been a busy 24 hours for hackers targeting major media with fake news: Computer intruders managed to post a false story on the New York Yankees Facebook page Thursday and on several other teams' pages.
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