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ITN became the victim of a malicious hacker last weekend after someone broke into its email system and sent out an offensive communiqu.

The substance of the email, sent to thousands of people on its ITN Desktop news email distribution list, was short, but to the point.

"We are one step closer to finding you, you little f**ker," it said.

Executives at the highly respected news organisation sent out an apology 18 hours later.

It said: "You will have received an e-mail purporting to come from ITN and using offensive language.

"This was the result of a security violation where a third party was able to access ITN's e-mail process.

"We deeply apologise for the offence and annoyance caused and have begun an immediate investigation into how the violation came about."

A spokeswoman for ITN wouldn't discuss the details of the investigation although she was confident the security breach was not an inside job.

She said the likely cause of the offending e-mail was due to a hacker breaking into ITN's computer system. ITN has tightened security as a result of the incident.

An ITN spokeswoman told The Register: "We do regret what happened." ®

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