NBC News Twitter Hack Came Courtesy Of A Trojan Christmas Tree

Brad Chacos

If you’re a follower of NBC News’ Twitter account, there’s a good chance you crapped your pants last Friday evening. “Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked!” the feed blared, followed by flight numbers and rumors of hijacking attempts. Ten minutes later, a group calling themselves “The Script Kiddies” came clean and announced that they’d hacked the account. NBC’s been trying to figure out how the feed became compromised ever since, and now they think they’ve found the culprit: a Trojan Christmas tree.

NBC’s social media director, Ryan Osborn, received a mysterious email as Hurricane Irene was barreling down on New York a few weeks back, MSNBC reports .  Entitled “Hurricane Alert,” the message was brief and hand-tailored: “"Ryan, You need to get off TWITTER immediately and protect your family from the hurricane. That is an order."

Osborn replied to the email and asked who the sender was. In return, he received a message stating “I’m the girl next door,” with an attachment included. Osborn, who apparently can’t resist the allure of an attachment from "The girl next door” and obviously has never been explained the basics of email security – despite being NBC’s social media director – opened the attachment. All it contained was an image of a Christmas tree -- and a keylogging trojan. Hope he enjoyed the gift!

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