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Russian hacker took over BBC server, tried to sell access

A Russian hacker took control of a BBC server, and tried to sell access to it on a cybercrime forum. And on Christmas Day too!

How's this for a Christmas present? A Russian hacker managed to take over one of the BBC's computer servers, and then offered access to it for sale online, Reuters reports. And on Christmas Day too! Charming. Not exactly in the festive spirit is it.

It's not known if the Russian hacker (who goes by the names 'HASH or 'Revolver') found any buyers, but the Beeb reacted a couple of days later and managed to secure the site, according to Reuters' source.

The hacker infiltrated an ftp site: Ftp sites are usually used to securely transfer large files.

It's not known whether any data was stolen, or if anything was damaged. A BBC spokesperson wouldn't give any details, telling Reuters: "We do not comment on security issues."

The hack was identified by Hold Security LLC, a cybersecurity firm in Milwaukee, USA. Hold keeps a keen eye on cybercrime forums to see if any such breaches are going on. Alex Holden, Hold's founder and chief information security officer, told Reuters that the hacker popped up on one such forum trying to flog access to the BBC site.

To prove to his (or her) hacker buddies that the access was the real deal, HASH showed off files that could only be accessed by someone who controlled the server.

This isn't the first such attack on the BBC. It's previously been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. Other big companies have been targeted too. Three months ago, Palestinian protesters hacked free messaging app WhatsApp, and a couple of years ago, Sony was hacked not once but twice in the space of a few months. The second time, 93,000 accounts were compromised across the Sony PlayStation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment.

Have you ever been hacked? What was it like? And do we keep too much information online now to ever be safe from digital ne'er-do-wells? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.