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USA Today pwned by s'kiddies on Twitter

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A group of mischievous hackers who target the Twitter feeds of news organisations claimed a fresh victim on Sunday when they hijacked the micro-blogging feed of USA Today.

The group, who use the self-disparaging moniker Script Kiddies, hijacked the @USAToday Twitter feed to encourage fans to contact them to suggest new targets. "Please like The Script Kiddies on Facebook! You could choose our next target!" one of the unauthorised (since purged) updates said.

USA Today quickly regained control of the compromised feed. "@usatoday was hacked and as a result false tweets were sent. We worked with Twitter to correct it. The account is now back in our control," it said. "We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused to our readers and thank you for reading @usatoday."

Script Kiddies previously hit the micro-blogging feeds of Fox News – where they posted a false bulletin on the fictitious assassination of US President Barack Obama – and NBC News, where they posted false news about an imaginary terrorist attack on New York.

It's unclear how the feeds were compromised but weak password security of one type or another is one obvious suspect. A combination of social engineering and malware is also possible and seems to be the most likely scenario, at least as far as the NBC hack is concerned.

More commentary on the hack – including screenshots of the unauthorised posts – can be found in a blog post by net security firm Sophos here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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