Fox News has alerted the Secret Service about messages posted by hackers from one of its accounts and alleging that President Obama was assassinated.The incident occurred yesterday, on the 4th of July, and involved Fox's @foxnewspolitics account being hijacked by unidentified individuals.
"@BarackObama shot twice at a Ross' restaurant in Iowa while campaigning. RIP Obama, best regards to the Obama family," the hackers wrote in one of the rogue tweets.
The messages stayed online for several hours until Fox regained control of the compromised account and removed them.
According to FoxNews.com spokesperson George Ogilvie, the U.S. Secret Service, as the agency tasked with protecting the president, was informed about the incident and called to investigate it.
"We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred, and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into FoxNews.com accounts," added Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital.
Twitter suggested that the compromise occurred offsite. "We've heard from Fox News that they have identified the offsite vector that led to the compromise," the company said in a statement to CNET.
Furthermore, Twitter noted that it recommends e-mail addresses set up on private domains for accounts instead of those registered with free providers.
It's certainly possible for hackers to have compromised the email address associated with the hijacked account, considering that a few weeks ago LulzSec leaked personal information and email passwords belonging to Fox employees.
Posting anything that could be interpreted as a threat to the president's life on social networking sites is a very serious deal. In November last year a man was jailed for two years for posting such a threat on Craiglist. Earlier this month, a separate Oklahoma man was sentenced to eight months for posting a threat on the official White House website.