22 Mar 2013
BBC Twitter accounts were hacked by pro-Syrian activists, who posted several messages about weird weather conditions in the Middle East, according to the broadcaster. The tweets began appearing on Thursday afternoon and included the BBC weather, Arabic and Radio Ulster feeds.
The hacktivist group nicknamed ‘The Syrian Electronic Army’ spammed the 60,000 followers of BBC’s weather feed with funny messages. They also posted tweets to show direct support for Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad on BBC Arabic's account.
“Saudi weather station down due to head-on collision with camel,” one of the tweets read. “Chaotic weather forecast for Lebanon as the government decides to distance itself from the Milky Way.”
The broadcaster regained access to the three Twitter accounts and removed the inappropriate content. “We apologise to our audiences that this unacceptable material appeared under the BBC's name,” a BBC representative said.
At the same time, the journalists were targeted by phishing e-mails with embedded links meant to steal their passwords. The BBC doesn’t yet know if the two attacks come from the same hacktivist group.
The feeds are the latest in a series of high-profile Twitter accounts to have been hacked. In February 2012, Burger King’s Twitter account was hijacked to promote a fake merger with rival food chain McDonalds. Chrysler saw its Twitter feeds hacked, while 250,000 Twitter users had their passwords stolen.