The FBI is investigating the NBC News Twitter account hacking incident in which bogus information was posted about the hijacking of a civilian airliner that supposedly crashed into Ground Zero in New York.
A posting on the NBC News Twitter profile indicated the perpetrators may have been members of a new group of cyber pranksters known as "The Swift Kiddies," targeting mainstream news organizations, NBC reports.
The postings were immediately removed after they appeared on the main NBC News Twitter account — a tightly controlled account for which only three NBC News executives have the password.
Anchor Brian Williams read a statement on the NBC Nightly News Friday night disclosing the attack, adding that the network was "working with Twitter to correct the situation" and apologizing "for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act."
FBI officials confirmed Friday night that agents from the bureau's computer crimes unit were investigating the incident — the latest in a string of malicious cyber attacks on government and private companies. So far, bureau officials said, they are still gathering information from NBC and declined to discuss any suspects.
But, while committing the Friday afternoon attack, the perpetrators altered the NBC News Twitter profile to say they were from the "The Script Kiddies," anonymous computer pranksters who recently split off from two better-known hacking collectives, "Anonymous" and "LulzSec," both of which have been the targets of aggressive FBI investigations.
"This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We're attempting to get reporters on the scene. #groundzeroattacked," read the first false message sent from the @nbcnews account, AFP reports.
The second message alleged an airliner had been hijacked and the plane had just hit Ground Zero -- the site of the deadly September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in New York.
"Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. more as the story develops," read a third false message.
Soon after a message appeared stating: "@NBCNews Hacked by The Script Kiddies @s_kiddies." AFP reports.