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BBC apologises for bogus breaking news push messages, could be a hack

Claims it's a test, but might be a hijack
Wed Jun 25 2014, 11:54

Strange BBC Breaking News push test notificationsUSERS OF THE BBC NEWS APP were sent a strange push notification earlier this morning in what might be a hijack.

Bogus messages were sent to users via the "Breaking News" feature Wednesday morning, with widespread reports claiming that the news outlet's app was hacked.

The message, which was sent on two separate occasions, read, "NYPD Twitter campaign 'backfires' after hashtag hijacked. Push sucks! Pull blows! BREAKING NEWS No nudity in latest episode of Game of Thrones!!! MORE BREAKING NEWS IIIIIII like testing."

"This is a breaking news story and the BBC News app will bring you updates as they are available."

The BBC has apologised for the test push messages on Twitter, saying, "they were sent in error" to app subscribers. It said on Twitter, "We apologise for previous two test push notifications which were sent in error to BBC News app subscribers"

Internet security researcher Graham Cluley doesn't seem to think the app itself was hacked. He said on a blog post, "Chances are that the app itself has not been hacked, but it's possible pranksters have managed to exploit the way in which the BBC feeds in breaking news alerts to push them out to the app's user base.

"Nevertheless, it's embarrassing and it's easy to imagine how such a flaw could be exploited to scare [people] into making bad decisions."

Cluley highlighted that another possibility is that someone inside the BBC was testing the system and didn't realise their message would be seen by the outside world.

"One lesson to learn is that if you are testing systems to always use innocuous 'TEST' messages rather than ones which could be misinterpreted, or lead to observers thinking you might have been hacked." µ


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