Secret Service and Fox News Twitter Hack: Taking it Seriously

Yesterday we brought you the shocking news that the Fox News Twitter account had been hacked into by a group called Scriptkiddies who had then posted tweets about the assassination of President Barack Obama. Now we have news on the Secret Service and the Fox News Twitter hack and it seems the incident is being taken very seriously indeed by the agency that protects the president.

As OSM’s Matt Tran reported yesterday, many people seeing these kinds of tweets on a reputable news site could have been dismayed by the news. Although it soon became clear that the Fox News Twitter feed for political news had been compromised many thousands of Fox News followers saw the tweets and were somewhat surprised that he offending tweets were still in place several hours later, expressing their concerns through Twitter. Later yesterday, Fox News issued a statement saying that the Secret Service had been informed about what happened and George Ogilvie, a spokesman for the Service, said the law enforcement agency would investigate further.

Over on Mashable, Sarah Kessler reports that the Secret Service always take this kind of incident seriously, even when it concerns social networking and that any talk of the president’s assassination will result in action. In 2009 for instance, a Facebook poll asking if Obama should be killed was tracked back to its source although charges against the juvenile concerned were not filed. Secret Service investigations also followed up two incidents on Twitter accounts that carried threats of Obama’s assassination after the health care reforms that took place last year.

More from the Fox News statement tells how the company is working with Twitter to tackle what happened and vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital, Jeff Misenti said, “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 statement also added “FoxNews.com regrets any distress the false tweets may have created.” The hacking group concerned, the ScriptKiddies also posted a message on the @AnonymousIRC account before the fake tweets on Fox News were posted, reading “TheScriptKiddies would love to assist.” Other tweets that boasted about the hacking on Script Kiddies accounts have been removed.

We’re really interested to hear your views on these types of hacking incidents. Can posting false information about an assassination ever be acceptable, even if it’s to highlight vulnerabilities in systems? Let us have your thoughts on this by sending us your comments.