Massachusetts college apologizes for racist tweets on hacked Twitter account

By Gina Cherelus (Reuters) - A Massachusetts state college apologized on Saturday for Twitter messages filled with racist language, anti-immigrant speech and praise for President Donald Trump that had been sent from its hacked social media account. Salem State University President Patricia Meservey said in an emailed statement that none of the recent tweets, which were sent out around 11:45 p.m. on Friday, represented the views of the school. "We have done great work in the area of social justice and will continue to do so until incidents such as this no longer occur," Meservey said. "As a community, we are committed to stand against such hateful acts." According to screenshot photos posted online, the tweets called the Black Lives Matter movement "unneeded and unnecessary," said that Trump "has done nothing but great things" for America and used a racial slur to describe former President Barack Obama. One tweet said "immigrant thieves" were not welcome in the United States and that "our education revolves around white working Americans." A subsequent post included Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again." Many Americans have sensed an unsettling rise in racial hostility since Trump took office in January, or at least a greater willingness by some to express it, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. The number of hate crimes in the United States has surged since his election, fueled by passions inflamed during a campaign that focused on issues such as race, religion and national origin, according to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino. Meservey said campus police regained control of the account soon after the university learned of the hack, deleted the tweets, and were putting additional security in place to prevent future incidents. Salem State University, located about 25 miles north of Boston in the city famous for its 1692 witch trials, has an Continue Reading

Here’s everything we know about the hackers behind LinkedIn, celebrity Twitter accounts

Another day, another celebrity gets hacked — or two, or three. The last two months have been filled with online data dumps and compromised Twitter accounts, but it might all be connected to the LinkedIn breach in 2012. Celebrity accounts from Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey and Mark Zuckerberg have been hacked this past weeK. Others affected include Tenacious D, Bill Gates, Yankee Rob Refsnyder and even the NFL. Although it's not clear who is hacking these individual accounts, it seems that all the information might've been released by a single hacker and a paid data search engine. Here's everything we know about the hackers and their online deeds: What's the LinkedIn breach? The LinkedIn breach from 2012 seems to be what started this chain of attacks. At the time, it was reported that 6.5 million passwords were posted online, yet no one knew how big the breach was because LinkedIn never clarified how many accounts were compromised. Fast forward four years, turns out a total of 167 million accounts were actually compromised — It's considered one of the largest leaks of its type. Two weeks ago, a hacker that goes by the name "Peace," tried selling online that large data dump of LinkedIn emails and passwords, according to Motherboard. Peace was selling the account information (emails and passwords) of 117 million LinkedIn users for five Bitcoin, which is roughly about $2,881. However, Peace is probably not responsible for hacking all these individual accounts. The leaked account information was also obtained by paid hacked data search engine LeakedSource. Therefore, other entities could've paid for the login data and hacked celebrities — and even common folk. The most recent hack was the NFL's Twitter account, which was accessed by hacker group Peggle Crew. They told Tech Insider that they got the League's login information by hacking into a social media employee's email, but Continue Reading

Anonymous hacktivists claim to have taken down thousands of pro-Islamic State Twitter accounts

SAN FRANCISCO - Islamic State sympathizers using social media to spread propaganda and recruit fighters are now drawing an increasing amount of return fire from activists who have been knocking some sites offline and infiltrating others. The loose hacking collective Anonymous is the latest to draw attention to such campaigns, with members claiming credit this week for having thousands of pro-IS Twitter accounts disabled. But others claim to have been doing more for longer. One group that feeds information to the U.S. government says it has suppressed tens of thousands of Twitter accounts since January, and its members have posed as would-be recruits to gain information on so-called Dark Web operations supporting the Islamic State. "We're playing more of an intelligence role," said the executive director of Ghost Security Group, who declined to be named, citing security concerns. The group is a volunteer organization that has been sending data to the FBI and other agencies via a Congressional terrorism adviser, Michael S. Smith II. Smith said the group's infiltration efforts had given some actionable information to the government, and that coordinated complaints to Twitter had helped push Islamic State supporters elsewhere. U.S. agencies "appreciate the outside support. I have constant feedback to that," Smith said. Retired Gen. David Petraeus recently told Foreign Policy he had reviewed Smith's data and saw how it "would be of considerable value to those engaged in counter-terrorism initiatives." The FBI declined to comment. Smith, chief operating officer of defense contractor Kronos Advisory, said Ghost Security Group contacted him in June and provided screenshots of internal communications about an impending attack in Tunisia, which he said he passed along and which helped break up a militant cell in time. The Paris attacks on Friday have brought an increase in online activity against the jihadists, but freelance efforts to counter Continue Reading

President Obama’s Twitter account compromised after Syrian group hacks into link-shortener

#Uh-Oh. President Obama’s Twitter account was briefly compromised Monday after a shady online group hacked into the link-shortening service used by Obama's social media team. A link posted to the President’s official Twitter account Monday afternoon that was meant to direct to a Washington Post article actually sent Internet users to a YouTube video about terrorism in Syria. A group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) quickly claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on its own Twitter account. The errant link on Obama’s Twitter account, @BarackObama, was quickly corrected and no longer directs to the video. According to CNBC, the group, which has claimed responsibility in the past for other big cyber-attacks, didn’t actually hack into the President’s account. Rather, it breached the link-shortener tool, which send out truncated links to Internet URLs, used by his social media team. The tool, a custom third-party link-shortener, was used by the President’s Organizing for Action group and is not affiliated with Twitter. In a separate post, SEA said it had also “accessed many Obama campaign emails accounts to assess his terrorism capabilities.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. SEA has previously targeted the Associated Press and The New York Times with cyber-attacks. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

E! Online Twitter account hacked, posts fake exclusive about Justin Bieber’s sexuality

Don’t Belieb a word of it. The Twitter account for E! Online was hacked Saturday by a group which quickly began spreading bogus 140-character bits of celebrity gossip to its 5 million followers. “Exclusive: Justin Bieber to E!online: I’m a gay,” the E! Online account announced — prompting 1,200 retweets and 351 favorites. A group billing itself as the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the takeover. The SEA was also behind the April hijacking of The Associated Press Twitter feed. E! suspended its Twitter account following the hack attack. “Eonline's breaking news twitter and sms accounts were compromised today,” the organization said in a statement. “We're working to have this resolved as quickly as possible and are fully investigating the incident. “We apologize for any confusion that the erroneous news alerts may have caused.” The SEA sent out a flurry of tweets and breaking news messages to text subscribers revolving around Bieber coming out of the closet. One tweet said Selena Gomez, the “Baby” singer’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, was supportive of his declaration. Another said actress that Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie told E! that “Jordan is to blame for the Syrian refugees’ atrocious conditions.” The cyberhackers support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, the Wall Street Journal reported. Their other hacking targets include Twitter accounts for “60 Minutes,” the BBC, NPR and Reuters. Spokespeople for Bieber could not be reached Saturday, when the singer performed in Dubai as part of his international “Believe” tour. The SEA, after hacking the AP account, claimed two explosions rocked the White House and injured President Obama. The tweet caused stocks to dip and White House spokesman Jay Carney to Continue Reading

Verified Brett Favre twitter account admits it’s a fake

Since joining Twitter last week, @BrettFavre4 has weighed in on the NFL's bounty scandal, Peyton's Manning retirement and praised Bulls' point guard Derrick Rose for being "So good!" The account, which was verified by Twitter and reported on by various media outlets, was even quoted in articles about some of the topics the account tweeted about. But late Thursday night, BrettFavre4 admitted it was a fake — despite Twitter's stamp of validity. Reps for Favre said in a press release that the quarterback's official account was hacked only days after it went live online. Messages on the account haven’t been from Favre for the past week, the IB Times reported. The fake Favre apologized. "I’m sorry if I offended any of you," the impersonator wrote. "I never ment (sic) for it to get this big." Favre’s reps said in a press release that the football star’s account was hacked a mere three days after he opened in on March 2nd. "At this time neither Mr. Favre or ourselves have any idea who is tweeting for him on his account," the statement read, according to the IB Times. "It is most certainly NOT him or anyone he is associated with." Though the fake Brett Favre never tweeted anything incredibly harmful to the retired quarterback's reputation, the fake Favre’s slightly strange posts  on Twitter had blogs and fans watching carefully for slip-ups. "Meanwhile, back to the Favre Twitter account. Gotta love where this is going. *rubbing hands together*" sports blog Busted Coverage wrote in a post earlier this week, after Favre tweeted about his wife. Twitter and Favre's agent did not immediately return requests for comment. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

AL-Jazeera show’s English Twitter account hacked by Assad backers

LONDON — The Twitter account of Al-Jazeera’s English-language social media show has been hacked by supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hackers hijacked the Twitter account of “The Stream,” a program aimed at tapping into online audiences. The account featured links to pro-Assad material Thursday. One message claimed the stunt in the name of the Syrian Electronic Army, a group which has carried out a string of Web attacks against targets it sees as sympathetic to Syria’s rebels. Washington-based producer James Wright confirmed in a tweet that The Stream’s social media platforms had been hacked, warning followers not to click on any links being posted from the account.   @AJStream via Twitter Some retweeted responses to the Twittter account of Al-Jazeera's English-language social media show, "The Stream," being hacked by Syrian supporters of President Bashar Assad. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Student who got lewd pic from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account denies she’s his mistress

A college student who received an obscene photo from Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account says she's never met the married Queens politico - and backed his contention they're both victims of online pranksters. "I have never met Congressman Weiner, though I am a fan," Gennette Cordova, 21, of Seattle, Wash., told The Daily News Sunday in an interview. "I've never been to New York or to DC." She also issued a lengthy statement, complaining about how she's been characterized on blogs and other web sites. "I have seen myself labeled as the 'Femme Fatale of Weinergate,' 'Anthony Weiner's 21-year-old coed mistress' and 'the self-proclaimed girlfriend of Anthony Weiner.' ... All of this is so outlandish that I don't know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly," she wrote. READ CORDOVA'S FULL STATEMENT TO THE DAILY NEWS HERE. The online drama began Friday when a lewd photo appeared in Weiner's Twitter stream addressed to Cordova but visible to all 40,000 of his Twitter followers. The photo was a crotch shot of a man in form-fitting briefs that left little to the imagination. It was quickly deleted and Weiner, who was in the middle of Twittering about hockey, said he'd been hacked. "More Weiner Jokes for all my guests," he Tweeted. Weiner stepped out on Sunday with his wife Huma Abedin amid controversy over a picture posted from his Twitter account. (Andrew Savulich/News) Sunday, Weiner's spokesman Dave Arnold said: "This is intended to be a distraction, and we're not going to let it become one. Anthony's accounts were obviously hacked. He doesn't know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on what steps to take next." Outside his Forest Hills home, Weiner, declined further comment as he went for a walk with his wife, Huma Abedin, a former top Senate aide to Hillary Clinton. It was unclear whether he or his staff contacted authorities. Some right-wing bloggers insist it must be proof that Weiner was having an Continue Reading

Fox News politics Twitter account hacked, hoaxsters tweet Obama assassinated in Iowa

Red-faced Fox News editors were scrambling early Monday to figure out how hackers broke into one of their Twitter accounts and posted several messages that President Obama had been assassinated. The hackers broke into the broadcaster's Fox News Politics account at around 2 a.m. and posted several messages that President Obama had been shot and killed while campaigning in Iowa. "@BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead," the first post said. Moments later, the hackers wrote that Obama had been "shot twice in the lower pelvic area and in the neck; shooter unknown. Bled out." After three more rapid-fire tweets, including one that said Obama had been killed at "Ross' Restaurant in Iowa," the hackers signed off by wishing Vice President Joe Biden luck as the country's new president. "In such a time of madness, there's light at the end of tunnel," the hoaxsters wrote. The seven phony tweets were still visible on the account, which carries Twitter's baby blue "verified account" badge, for most of Monday morning. They were deleted at around noon. Fox's politics account has nearly 35,000 followers. A group of hackers called The Script Kiddies appeared to claim responsibility for the Independence Day hoax, BBC News reported. At one point, the account's picture was replaced with the group's logo, and a description said, ""H4CK3D BY TH3 5CR1PT K1DD3S." In an interview with Stony Brook Magazine's Think magazine, a person claiming to be a part of the organization said the group had close ties to the infamous hacking clan Anonymous. The Script Kiddies allegedly broke into the account sometime around midnight Sunday and posted a few tweets that linked back to their own account before beginning the Obama ruse, Think reported. Twitter accounts that appeared to belong to the group, including @TheScriptKiddie and @ScriptKiddi3s, were suspended Continue Reading

French man hacks Obama’s Twitter account

A man has been arrested for hacking into the Twitter account of President Obama, French police announced today.The 25-year-old man, who went by the handle Hackercroll, also stole the password for the Twitter account belonging to Britney Spears, as well as other celebrities.“This individual spread information about a dozen American personalities, notably Barack Obama, on specialist blogs,” Adeline Champagnat, head of the French office against online fraud, told Reuters.Champagnat did not elaborate on what the hacker had done with Obama’s Twitter account information, saying only that it would have been more problematic if the President had posted “sensitive” information.According to  police, Hackercroll seemed especially interested in the private lives of the celebrities whose accounts he hacked.The French suspect appears to have acted alone, and seems untrained in the ways of password swiping and hacking. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading