Rogers Media isn’t commenting on two incidents this week that saw hackers gain control of radio station Twitter accounts in Halifax and Vancouver.
The first attack happened Tuesday evening (Jan. 15) when Tweets coloured with offensive language began to post from the News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax Twitter account.
If you manage the Twitter account for a local Rogers radio station, you would do well to enable two-factor authentication right about now. pic.twitter.com/aUbWb7qfn7
— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) January 17, 2019
A group called the “Spank Gang” claimed credit and suggested that its next intended target was @CTVNews.
The hackers struck again Wednesday night, targeting Rogers’ Vancouver station News 1130 (CKWX-AM) and its @News1130traffic account.
The Spank Gang is the same group that hacked the account of Conservative Canadian Senator Linda Frum on Jan. 6 and shared her personal information, including a photo of her driver’s license.
James Wallace, head of digital strategy for Momentum Media Marketing (the parent company of this publication), told Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, that considering the hackers were able to gain control of the accounts – in the Halifax case for several hours – it represents a major security infraction.
“It needs to be heavily weighed that these people hacking these accounts…this is a game, they are ultimately challenging each other to one up each other. For every one of these hacks that occurs today, another larger one will occur tomorrow. I would suspect these people already would have access to other accounts,” said Wallace, who believes many more media accounts across the country have been compromised, but in much lower profile incidents.
Wallace said the hackers likely used off the shelf software, obtained online, to “brute-force” their way into the accounts, continually running passwords against the accounts until they find success and then changing the password so the account holder can’t regain access.
He said particularly for large media organizations, using enterprise solutions, like Hootsuite or Omniture to drive social platforms, is the smartest way to ensure more control over social media accounts because it gives the company the ability to shut down platforms when necessary and negates the need for individual employees to have user names and passwords.
For newsrooms without a lot of IT support, Wallace recommends random password generation, enabling two-tier authentication, and limiting access to accounts to as few people as possible.
Link to our podcast with Wallace and Momentum creative producer Christian Lind here.
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