Hacker Group Takes Control of Packers’ Twitter With Unusual Intent

Packers Twitter Hacked

Getty Za'Darius Smith #55 of the Green Bay Packers sits on the bench during the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.

A group of hackers commandeered the Twitter accounts of the Green Bay Packers and numerous other NFL teams on Monday, but not for the reasons you might expect.

According to a tweet sent from the Packers’ account, OurMine — a hacker group allegedly based out of Saudi Arabi — hacked the Packers to “show people that everything is hackable” and encouraged the teams to contact them about improving their account security in the future, including their contact information in the tweet. They also claimed to be carrying out the hacks to show “we’re back.”

Identical tweets were sent from the NFL’s primary account along with the team account for the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Chicago Bears had a series of bizarre tweets sent before the group sent out a “just kidding” tweet to promote their message. It would appear as though 15 team accounts were hacked, as all of them are missing profile pictures to suggest Twitter has suspended them while working to resolve the issues.

It wouldn’t be the first time hackers have been associated with the Packers — even in the last month. Star running back Aaron Jones had his personal account hacked prior to the Packers’ NFC Championship showdown with the San Francisco 49ers and was left scrambling to regain control after some vulgar accounts were posted under his name.

Some of OurMine’s first successful hacking endeavors can be traced back to 2016 when they took control of several high-profile Twitter accounts, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek, actor Channing Tatum and YouTuber Pewdiepie. They also hacked BuzzFeed after the news organization published an article attempting to link the group to a Saudi Arabian teenager, allegations OurMine denied.

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What Does Hack Mean for NFL Teams?

The Packers and other affected teams will likely have to wait until the end of the day or early tomorrow to regain access to their accounts as Twitter assesses the situation, but the incident itself could raise some interesting questions about the security practices of major sports leagues and franchises, according to CNBC’s Kate Fazzini.

Per Fazzini’s article on the matter:

The incident may raise some concerns about security practices of major sports leagues and their teams, as those participating in large event venues fall under increasing scrutiny from the Department of Homeland Security for their risk to cyberattacks. “Commercial Facilities” represent one of the 18 sectors categorized by DHS as “critical to the infrastructure of the United States,” including venues like the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where this year’s Super Bowl will be played.

For this reason, any successful compromise of teams playing in that event, including social media accounts managed by the teams, may draw federal scrutiny.

While organizations such as OurMine use their account takeovers to promote their “security services” the practice is illegal under a number of federal and state laws with penalties that can range from hefty fines to jail time. Most individuals charged at the federal level are charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which covers a variety of computer-related offenses.

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