Sep. 26, 2011 at 1:54 PM ET
USA Today's Twitter account was hacked, apparently by the same group that breached the Twitter accounts of NBC and Fox News.
The newspaper acknowledged the hack late Sunday, and the group that claimed credit for it, "The Script Kiddies" did so on USA Today's Twitter account, said Sophos Security on its Naked Security blog. "The Script Kiddies" are an off-shoot of the hacker group known as Anonymous.
"Fortunately, USA Today was able to regain control of the account (with some assistance from Twitter) before any serious harm could be caused," wrote Graham Cluley, Sophos' senior technology consultant. "The newspaper tweeted an apology to its followers."
While it's "unclear how the USA Today Twitter account was compromised ... there was speculation that the hack by the same group against NBC News's Twitter account was assisted by a spyware Trojan horse."
NBC News' Twitter account was hacked Sept. 9 and bogus information posted about the hijacking of a civilian airliner that supposedly crashed into Ground Zero in New York. The information was quickly removed; and "The Script Kiddies" claimed responsibility. The FBI is now investigating what happened.
"A prime goal of 'The Script Kiddies' appears to be attempting to embarrass news organizations," wrote wrote Michael Isikoff and Jonathan Dienst of NBC News. In July, "the group took credit for a similarly malicious attack on the Fox News Twitter account, in which false information was posted about a fatal shooting of President Obama."
Said Cluley: " 'The Script Kiddies' might believe that their hacks against media organisations are just childish pranks, but it's unlikely that the authorities find them amusing. The more social media accounts that they target, the more the computer crime police will be keen to bring them to justice."