Hackers have taken control of a Twitter account run by US news outlet Fox News using the reputable social media source to falsely declare US President Barack Obama had been assassinated.
Twitter feed @FoxNewsPolitics was hacked in the early hours of this morning with hackers looking to mar America’s Independence Day celebrations with rumours that Barack Obama has been shot dead.
The first tweet, which was placed by the hackers at 7:14am GMT, read: "@BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead.”
Four further tweets sent over a seven minute period looked to detail how Obama had been shot twice whilst dining at Ross’ restaurant in Iowa with gunshot wounds to the lower pelvic area and neck causing the President to bleed to death. Looking to spread the news past the single Twitter feed the hackers posted a message which read: “#ObamaDead, it's a sad 4th of July. RT to support the late president's family, and RIP. The shooter will be found.”
Whilst the tweets have yet to be removed suggesting hackers still have control of the account the last message posted to the news outlet came at 7:29am GMT reading: “We wish @joebiden the best of luck as our new President of the United States. In such a time of madness, there's light at the end of tunnel.”
In an official release Vice President and General Manager of Fox News Digital Jeff Misenti announced: "We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred, and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into FoxNews.com accounts."
The latest in an ongoing series of high-profile hack attacks, the Fox News Twitter feed appears to have been targeted by a group referring to themselves as The Script Kiddies with a number of tweets appearing from an account by that name before being quickly suspended.
"More than anything this act of sabotage demonstrates the power of Twitter not just to inform but to misinform on a massive scale if infiltrated by rogue elements,” said Mike Essex of digital marketing and social media specialists Koozai on the attacks.
He added: “With the likes of LulzSec and Anonymous focusing so heavily on hacking big brands, it’s worth noting these same big brands are also present on Twitter, where they can be manipulated to say anything the hacker wishes.
"People automatically trust these big name Twitter accounts, especially those that are ‘verified’ such as @Foxnewspolitics, giving their tweets decidedly more gravitas."
Will the attacks on the Fox News account spark a new breed of Twitter hacks or are companies already aware of the threats posed? Let us know what you think via the T3’s own Twitter and Facebook feeds.