BBC Weather Twitter feed stormed by Syrian hackers

21 Mar 2013

Syrian Electronic Army inexplicably targets BBC Weather's Twitter account

BBC Weather's Twitter feed today stopped warning about snow and rain in favour of messages about the Syrian conflict, Middle East politicians and camels.

Hackers took over the feed at around 1pm, with the message "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here". Over the following hour, the feed was filled with a series of weather-themed tweets about Syria and its neighbouring nations, before the hackers stopped.

The Syrian Electronic Army - which supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad - has previously targeted news networks including Al Jazeera, and earlier this week took over the Twitter feed of Human Rights Watch.

At the time of writing, all but one of the BBC Weather tweets remained live and no action appeared to have been taken by Twitter or the feed owners to shut down the account.

"Whether the legitimate owners of the @BBCWeather account were phished, had their password cracked, or made the mistake of using the same password in multiple places isn't currently clear - but what is obvious is that right now they have no control over their account," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a blog post. "And meanwhile, almost 60,000 Twitter users are getting weather reports from the Syrian Electronic Army instead."

"The good news is that the hack doesn't appear to have been done with the intention of spreading malicious links, or scams," he said.

Followers of the BBC Weather account seemed mostly amused by the hack. "This is the best weather page on the whole of Twitter today!" said one follower.

Cluley said the hack highlighted the need for Twitter to offer two-factor authentication. The BBC press office said: "We're aware that in the past few hours several BBC Twitter accounts have been hacked. We're actively working to resolve this asap."

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