Posted on July 5, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

We at WebRevelation hope you and yours had a wonderful Independence Day weekend with friends and family.  One group of folks who unfortunately had their festivities interrupted was the FoxNews social media team.  They had to clean up a PR disaster, in which hackers tweeted "news" about the assassination of the President of the United States from the @foxnewspolitics Twitter feed.


A group calling themselves the "Script Kiddies," has been wreaking havoc lately, presumably hoping to make a name for themselves by hacking high-profiles online and bragging about it to obtain lucrative job offers (yes, there is money to be made in computer hacking).  However, they may have taken things waaaaaay too far this time.  It is unknown who these hackers are.  It is commonplace for hackers to give the impression that they are juvenile (or to hide behind the youngest member of their hacking team), because the public is more sympathetic to youth, and on the rare occasion they are caught, the punishment is less severe for juveniles.


When I was growing up, I was told many times that with much freedom comes much responsibilty.  Failure to handle that responsibility would result in the loss of that freedom.  Perhaps no one successfully conveyed this lesson to these hackers?  The inevitable result of their actions will be additional legislation, and loss of freedom for all of us, including the law-abiding majority.


As all Americans know, it is never OK to threaten the life of the President of the U.S. - directly or indirectly - even in jest.  It is not funny, and the Secret Service, which is tasked with protecting the life of our President and his family, (rightly) takes all of these threats very, very seriously.  No matter how talented they are from a technical perspective, these hackers will not be able to gain the fortune and fame they seek from behind the walls of a maximum security prison.


FoxNews did the right thing.  They immediately alerted the Secret Service, and published a statement explaining what happened and apologizing for "any distress" the tweets may have caused.  Unfortunately, this is about all they could do.  Normal security precautions (password security, etc.) really has its limits when you're up against professional hackers.  The good news for most of us and our websites is that these types of groups normally target high-profile, high-traffic sites that will get them the bizarre recognition they seek. 

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