Third Hacking Incident for Reuters in a Month

17 August 2012, 10:42 am EDT By Sumit Passary Mobile & Apps

Reuters.com hacked yet again. The hacking incident - the third in a month - raises concerns regarding Reuters' security system.

A report appeared on the Reuters blog, stating that Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Saud al-Faisal had passed away. The information was phony and the handiwork of hackers who had happily chipped away at Reuters' security system.

"Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Tuesday. Our blogging platform was compromised and a fabricated blog post saying Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had died was illegally posted on a Reuters journalist's blog on Reuters.com," per BBC.

The false report was immediately deleted. The entire blogs.reuters.com platform remained temporarily down till Thursday (Aug. 16) morning. Reuters faced two similar cyber- attacks earlier this month when a blog claimed that the Syrian rebel army was retreating from Aleppo. A few days later the Reuters Twitter feed was also compromised with postings of pro-Syrian government messages.

It is not clear who is behind these illicit cyber-attacks.

Reports suggest that Reuters had been running the WordPress 3.1.1 version software, instead of the latest 3.4.1 version. It has been indicated that the older version of WordPress has a minimum of 20 reported vulnerabilities.

"Wordpress and its plug-ins are often targeted by attackers as the wide proliferation of the software makes it a target that provides a lot of bang for the buck for exploit developers," said Marcus Carey of Rapid7 to SecurityWatch. Carey further added that "the blame lies with site owners and administrators who fail to keep up with patches. While updating software is a basic step, there is evidence of a lack of execution in this area."

Reuters is not the only website to be hacked. In the past, hackers have also targeted other websites that have high anti-hacking software at their disposal. Whether Reuters takes a lesson from these incidents and beefs up its security system and addresses the existing flaws is anybody's guess.

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