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USA Today's Twitter account falls victim to hackers

Same group that hacked NBC News' Twitter account earlier this month apparently grabs hold of USA Today's Twitter feed and fires off a clutch of messages.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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2 min read
Twitter, screenshot by CNET

The same group that hacked NBC News' Twitter account on September 9 and sent tweets about a bogus attack on Ground Zero apparently grabbed hold of USA Today's Twitter feed today and fired off a clutch of messages.

The taunting tweets from someone claiming to be The Script Kiddies asked if Twitter had the courage to suspend the group again and encouraged Twitter users to vote for the next account to be hacked.

"Fox News, Wal-mart, Unilevel, Pfizer, NBC and now USA Today. who's next? Vote now!" read one of the tweets.

As of this writing, it seemed USA Today had regained control of its feed.

"Again, @usatoday was hacked and as a result false tweets were sent. We worked with Twitter to correct. The account is back in our control," said one message. "We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused to our readers and thank you for reading @usatoday," read another.

Twitter screenshot by Edward Moyer/CNET

There appeared to be no Twitter account for The Script Kiddies.

It's unclear who the Script Kiddies--a term used to describe novice hackers--are.

The earlier NBC News hack occurred on the heels of a hacking of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's Twitter account. Twitter spokeswoman Lynn Fox, contacted at the time of the Wozniak incident, said the company does not comment on individual accounts.

And, asked about the situation after the NBC News hack, Graham Cluley of security firm Sophos predicted that account hijinks of this sort would continue to happen until Twitter offered extra security measures for popular profiles.

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"Twitter should be applauded for taking such quick action (in suspending the accounts), but isn't it time that there was better security available to accounts which have a large number of followers, or who (like media organizations) may cause public panics if someone breaks in and starts tweeting false news stories about terrorist attacks?" Cluley wrote in a blog post at the time. "I, for one, would like to see Twitter and other social media sites offer an additional level of authentication for those who want to better defend their accounts. I fear that, unless that happens, we will continue to see high-profile accounts hacked and brands damaged as hackers run rings around them."

CNET has e-mailed Twitter a request for comment on the USA Today hack and will update this post with any response.

CNET's Elinor Mills contributed to this report.