The Script Kiddies — a new group of cyber pranksters — hacked NBC News’ Twitter account Friday afternoon and posted bogus news alerts that a commercial airliner had crashed into Ground Zero.

Twitter promptly suspended the hackers’ profile, @s_kiddies, and officials report that the FBI is now investigating the incident.

The Script Kiddies are an anonymous group of computer hackers who recently split off from the more well-known hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec. Their goal appears to be to embarrass and discredit mainstream news organizations. Two months ago, the group took credit for a similar hack of Fox News’ Twitter account, where bogus news alerts reported that President Obama had been assassinated. –BF


The U.S. government official who specializes in cyber security said that a typical scenario for such an attack would be enticing a Twitter user — through a phony email — to download an attachment that contains a “keylogger Trojan” — a form of computer “malware” or virus that penetrates a computer and picks up the repetitive keystrokes of the user, allowing the hackers to figure out the passwords to the Twitter account.

[Ryan] Osborn, the NBC News social media director, said he recently received one such suspicious email as Hurricane Irene was approaching New York. The email came from an unknown sender with the subject “Hurricane Alert” and the message: “Ryan, You need to get off TWITTER immediately and protect your family from the hurricane. That is an order.”

Osborn wrote back “I’m sorry. Who is this?” The sender then replied, “I’m the girl next door” with an attachment. Osborn said he mistakenly clicked on the attachment and it contained a Christmas tree.

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