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BBC falls victim to hacking over Christmas

December 30, 2013 16:27 IST

The British Broadcasting Corporation, the world's largest and oldest broadcaster, reportedly fell victim to a hacker who tried to sell access to the system over Christmas.

The hacker, claimed to be Russian, took over a BBC server and launched a Christmas Day campaign to convince other cyber criminals to pay him for access to the system.

However, BBC's security team reportedly secured the site on Saturday. A BBC spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the reports, saying: "We do not comment on security issues."

The server belonging to the British public broadcaster was reportedly broken into via a server usually used for uploading large files. The attack was first identified by Hold Security LLC, an American cyber security firm in Milwaukee monitoring underground cyber-crime forums in search of stolen information.

The firm's researchers noticed a notorious Russian hacker known as 'HASH' and 'Rev0lver' attempting to sell access to the BBC server on December 25, the company's founder and chief information security officer, Alex Holden, was quoted in the British press as saying.

The BBC has been the target of a number of attacks. In 2012 it was subjected to a cyber-attack, allegedly from Iran, which knocked out its Persian service.

When Syrian hackers managed to break into the Associated Press account in April and faked a story about an attack on the White House, the US stock market dropped by 143 points in seconds.

Cyber attackers calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army had also claimed responsibility for a Twitter attack on the 'Guardian' newspaper as well as the BBC and France 24 TV earlier this year.

Last January, the 'New York Times' reported that it had been repeatedly attacked over four months by Chinese hackers who obtained employees' passwords.

Aditi Khanna in London
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