SALISBURY, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group hijacked the website and Twitter feed of a Maryland news station, and the Twitter feed of The Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico, according to the outlets and federal authorities.
Hackers calling themselves CyberCaliphate took over the website and Twitter feed of WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Maryland, on Tuesday before the station wrested back control of the website, which briefly displayed the extremist group’s black-and-white flag and a message saying, “I love you, ISIS.”
But the station’s Twitter feed remained under the hackers’ control Wednesday.
“CyberCaliphate hacked FBI databases. INFIDELS, NEW YEAR WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER,” one of the tweets reads.
Also Tuesday, CyberCaliphate took over The Albuquerque Journal’s Twitter feed. Someone replaced the newspaper’s profile picture with an image that expressed support for Islamic militants. Numerous posts followed, including photos of driver’s licenses belonging to New Mexico residents, inmate profiles and warnings to residents that their confidential information was at risk.
The newspaper had regained control over the feed by midday Tuesday.
That cyberattack marked the second time in less than two weeks the newspaper was targeted by hackers. Its website was taken down for several hours on Christmas Eve when someone replaced the newspaper’s main story with material that expressed support for Islamic State extremists.
“If somebody logs into your website and then changes that, and then later logs into your Twitter account and changes that, that makes me suspicious that they’re getting the passwords from somewhere inside the organization,” Jed Crandall, an associate professor of computer science at the University of New Mexico, told KRQE-TV.
It’s unclear whether the hackers are genuine members or even supporters of the Islamic State group. Tech-savvy pranksters routinely make bogus claims or falsify their allegiances in bids to get attention.
FBI spokesman Frank Fisher confirmed Tuesday that the agency was looking into the New Mexico case. An FBI spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment about whether the Maryland cyberattack was under investigation, though the station said in its news report Tuesday that it was speaking to the agency.
Also in the report, WBOC cited the FBI as saying “similar attacks have been quietly happening to media companies across the United States.”
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)