The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s official weather and Arabic Twitter accounts were hacked by the supporters of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Hackers controlled the accounts for almost three hours on Thursday and posted comical, anti-Semitic and political tweets, according to The Telegraph.
“Syrian Electronic Army”, as the hackers identified themselves, used the BBC weather Twitter account to post a series of attacks on the countries that oppose Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain. They first tweeted at around 13:00 GMT and the first tweet was “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here via @Official_SEA #SEA #Syria”. Some of the tweets posted by hacked @bbcweather were:
Scandal: Edinburgh storm warning station decommissioned after maintenance fund diverted to arming Syrian opposition
Saudi weather station down due to head on-collision with camel
Long live Syria Al-Assad
Earthquake warning for Qatar: Hamad Bin Khalifah about to exit vehicle
Hacking of the [email protected] account was confirmed by a BBC spokesperson. BBC weather has over 57,000 followers. BBC regained control of the account at 15:40 GMT. The corporation apologized and said that normal services have resumed. Usually, BBC uses the account to post weather updates and warnings. The hackers had tweeted about ten messages and all of them were deleted after BBC regained control.
The BBC Arabic account and BBC Radio Ulster account were also hijacked by the same group at around the same time. BBC Arabic has about 60,000 followers. The Syrian Electronic Army has its own website and Twitter account. These Assad regime supporters have referred to the Free Syrian Army as terrorists. They have also accused the Western world and Arabic media of fabricating news about Syrian civil war.
The Syrian Electronic Army has previously hacked AFP, the French news agency, Al-Jazeera, Reuters and Human Rights Watch. An Increasing number of such hacking incidents have compelled Twitter to introduce a “two-step” verification process to increase security. It requires users to enter a code messaged to their registered phone while logging in.