The Twitter account of New York Times Video was reportedly hacked Sunday morning — possibly twice — with one post claiming that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was planning to attack the United States with missiles.
“BREAKING: leaked statement from Vladimir Putin says: Russia will attack the United States with Missiles” read the tweet posted at around 10 a.m. in the morning.
— newyorkist (@Newyorkist) January 22, 2017
The New York Times Video page, as the name suggests, posts videos on the micro-blogging site and has in excess of 259,000 followers, significantly less in number than the main NYT page, which has more than 33 million followers. After the bizarre Russia attack tweet was put up, two other messages were posted on the Twitter page with one of them claiming that the Russia attack post was put up by a third party hacker.
The two later tweets were claimed to have been put up by OurMine, a group that operates as a protection racket which hacks Twitter accounts to promote a so-called security auditing service, according to the Hill. It is not yet known if OurMine’s claims that the “Russia attack tweet” was posted by a third party hacker are true, but the group is known to have breached high-profile Twitter accounts for Marvel, Netflix and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in the past, according to the New York Daily News.
“Message from OurMine: We detected unusual activity on the account and we re-hacked it to make sure if the account is hacked or not,” read one of the tweets posted on the account Sunday morning. The New York Times admitted that its video account had been hacked. It claimed that it was investigating the situation.
“We deleted a series of tweets published from this account earlier today without our authorization. We are investigating the situation.”
Even so, it appears that the media organization was unable to thwart the hacking attempt, with the immediate tweet that followed containing this message.
“Message from OurMine to @nytvideo: contact us to tell you how to fix the issue” read the tweet.
Yet another tweet claimed that the Times‘ tweet came from the same hacker who posted a fake announcement about Britney Spears’ death last month on the Sony Music account.
The hacking of NYT’s Twitter page comes at a time when various institutions in the United States are becoming increasingly susceptible to hackers. Even as the hacking attempts and breaches multiply by the day, intelligence agencies including the CIA are struggling to get around the foibles of American cyber-security systems. The controversy surrounding the role of Russian hackers in deciding the 2016 U.S. elections remains a case in point, with the CIA having previously told senators that Russia hacked into the DNC servers and subsequently handed over the embarrassing documents to WikiLeaks, indirectly helping Donald Trump become the President of the United States.
Even President Trump has admitted to cyber-security lapses in American systems, but has evaded implicating Russia directly for the hacks.
According to reports which emerged last year in August, Russian hackers had reportedly also hacked into the New York Times’ email accounts, following which FBI had investigated the claims. But no emails from the alleged hack ever emerged, and the newspaper’s spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said back in August that neither the authorities nor the organization had found any evidence of a hack on its internal systems.
It remains to be seen if the hacking attempt on the New York Times Video Twitter page was planned carefully or an aberration, but one thing remains certain: America under Trump needs to be much more vigilant with its cyber-security systems.
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]