The U.S. Secret Service said it is investigating the July 4 account hijack of a twitter account belonging to Fox News after messages reporting the assassination of U.S. President Barack Obama were posted on the account.
Spokesman Max Milien told Threatpost that the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the President and other high ranking government officials, was conducting an investigation of the hack and macabre messages, which were posted early Monday, July 4, on the account @FoxNewsPolitics. However, Milien declined to comment on the breadth of the investigation or whether the U.S. Secret Service was working in coordination with the FBI or other entities.
The investigation stems from an embarrassing breach of security for the @FoxNewsPolitics account, which distills the networks political news stories and that enjoys more than 38,000 followers. As part of the attack, erroneous twitter messages (or “tweets”) were posted claiming that U.S. President Obama had been assassinated in Iowa and that Vice President Joe Biden had assumed the presidency. Those messages remained up on Twitter for more than seven hours while Fox and Twitter worked to regain control of the account.
A source with knowledge of the attack says that Fox reacted immediately to the breach, but that San Francisco based Twitter was slow to respond and remove the offending messages. The messages were gone by noon on Monday. Twitter has not responded to requests for comment from Threatpost.
The U.S. Secret Service investigation is likely to focus on the source, rather than the technical details of the attack. Word of the breach first spread from a Twitter account @thescriptkiddie. That account was suspended on Monday and remained offline on Tuesday.