The Twitter news feed of NBC, which has about 130,000 followers, was hacked on Friday afternoon by a group calling itself The Script Kiddies. Several fake tweets were posted reporting that a plane had crashed into Ground Zero in New York City. The hack comes just a couple of days before the US marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the country.
The first fake tweet said: “Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops.”
This was followed a few minutes later by another: “Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47.”
Soon after, this one appeared: “This is not a joke, Ground Zero has been attacked. We’re attempting to get reporters on the scene.”
Finally, a tweet appeared from the hacking group itself, claiming responsibility for the fake tweets. The description on The Script Kiddies’ now suspended Twitter account described itself as “Anonymous Supporters :: Hackers :: Exploiting simplistic methods with hilarious results :: Occasionally doing it for the lulz :: We are The Script Kiddies.”
The hack comes at a time when parts of the country are already on high alert following credible but unconfirmed reports of a terrorist plot targeting Washington DC and New York City on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
A statement from NBC said: “The NBC News twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act.”