Fox News Hackers Tweet Obama Death Hoax

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Hackers associated with AntiSec have sent false news on Fox News’ Twitter account

Hackers have hijacked the Twitter account of US-based Fox News and posted tweets claiming that president Barack Obama has been assassinated while campaigning in Iowa.

The Fox News Politics account – @foxnewspolitics – which has more than 35,000 followers, was used to issue a number of fake tweets saying that president Obama had been shot in the head and died, and that vice-president Joe Biden had been installed in his place.

“BREAKING NEWS: President @BarackObama assassinated, 2 gunshot wounds have proved too much. It’s a sad 4th for #america. #obamadead RIP,” read a tweet at around 7am BST.

This was followed soon after by another tweet that read: “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.”

Script Kiddies and AntiSec

The hack has been claimed by a group called ‘Script Kiddies’, which claims to be associated with AntiSec – the combined campaign of notorious hacker groups Anonymous and Lulzsec. Last week, a post on the AnonymousIRC Twitter feed announced that the Lulzsec hackers had rejoined Anonymous, and would continue their exploits using the #AntiSec label.

“We are looking to find information about corporations to assist with AntiSec,” a representative of the group ‘Script Kiddies’ said in an interview with Stony Brook University’s Think Magazine. “Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.”

The representative went on to warn that Fox News might be subject to more attacks: “I’ve looked into their security, and site defacement does not seem to be an option,” he said. “Everything else is fair game.”

Fox News has issued a statement acknowledging the hack and clarifying that the president is spending the 4 July holiday with his family. “The hacking is being investigated, and regrets any distress the false tweets may have created,” said the news agency.

Rise of the hacktivists

The news comes amid growing concern over the growing notoriety of ‘hacktivist’ groups, which use digital tools to pursue political ends. Although Lulzsec – the group responsible for the recent hacks of websites belonging to the CIA, the Senate and Sony – has officially disbanded, the group’s six members still have about 5 GB of stolen files from law enforcement agencies that they will begin releasing shortly, according to AnonymousIRC.

Meanwhile, attacks on the Tunisian and Zimbabwean governments have been carried out in the name of #AntiSec, “We’ve been around for a while and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. In the name of #AntiSec we will continue to sail strong,” said a message on AnonymousIRC.

AntiSec also claims to have hacked a server belonging to iPhone maker Apple over the weekend.

19-year-old Ryan Cleary, who was arrested on suspicion of acting as part of the Lulzsec group last month, is currently on bail and awaiting trial at the end of August. Cleary has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and agoraphobia.

Lulzsec has acknowledged that Cleary hosted one of its chat rooms on his IRC server, but denied that he was a leader of the group.

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