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Twitter hackers spread Ground Zero attack scare before account suspension

    Ground Zero
    Hackers posted fake tweets of attack at Ground Zero, above, after hacking into the twitter account of NBC News. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP
    Twitter acted swiftly to suspend the account of a so-called 'hacktivist' group which was suspected of gaining control of the official NBC News twitter account and posting messages claiming that another attack was underway at New York's Ground Zero. Coming two days before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the prank by a group calling themselves the 'script kiddies' was greeted with widespread opprobrium from other twitter users. "Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops," the hackers wrote in one of the fake tweets sent out from the NBC account. They added: "Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47. #groundzeroattacked. "This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We're attempting to get reporters on the scene #groundzeroattacked." The group claimed responsibility by tweeting on the hacked account: "NBCNEWS hacked by The Script Kiddies. Follow them at @s_kiddies!" NBC News sent the Guardian the following statement: "The NBC News twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act. Luke Russert, who covers politics for NBC News, also tweeted: "Please ignore NOT TRUE tweets coming from @NBC News. We got hacked by tasteless despicable attention seeking criminals." Some experts suspect that script kiddies, who are thought to have hacked a Fox News account two weeks ago, are British although this had not been confirmed. They are thought to hack accounts by getting the password through infected direct messages, other fake links or malware. The hack came as the US was on alert following what is being described as "credible but unconfirmed" information that a terrorist attack is being planned in New York or in Washington. Extra bomb sweeps, dog patrols, surveillance of tunnels and bridges and vehicle checkpoints have been ordered after warnings of a plot to launch a vehicle bomb attack, believed to be in the form of a single piece of intelligence, were first received on Wednesday night. The US vice-president, Joe Biden, said on Friday that there was no confirmation that anyone had travelled into the US for such a plot although the tip came from a credible source. "There's no certitude," he said. nb : guardian

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