Multitudes of fans have been heading to the ESPN and SportsCenter Twitter accounts in the wake of Kobe Bryant's death in search of the latest updates available. They were instead greeted by evidence that the accounts had been hacked. OurMine, a Saudi hacking account that promotes its own cybersecurity services, took over the ESPN-owned accounts on Tuesday afternoon.
Instead of updates about Bryant, ESPN fans were met with a message reading: "Hi, it's OurMine again. Well internet security still bad in this world so we are back :). Today will be crazy so be ready for the news." The company also directed ESPN to an email account that they could contact for help "fixing" this issue.
The self-described "white hat" hacking group claimed that they were breaching these accounts with good intentions. They wanted to show that everything is hackable while promoting their company.
ESPN later regained control of the accounts and was able to delete the messages from existence. However, the fans on social media still had the screenshots saved to their computers in order to reflect upon the very odd moment in history.
The ESPN accounts were not the only ones victimized by OurMine. The Saudi company also took over several Twitter accounts belonging to NFL teams, as well as the official league account. The San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and several other franchises lost control throughout the weekend due to hacks. The Chicago Bears even offered to trade all-star pass rusher, Khalil Mack, for the paltry sum of one dollar.
"On Monday, the NFL Cybersecurity department became aware of a breach of a league-related social media account," the NFL said in a press release. "Targeted breaches and additional failed attempts were discovered across the league and team accounts. The NFL took immediate action and directed the teams to secure their social media accounts and prevent further unauthorized access.
"Simultaneously, the league alerted the social media platform providers and, with their assistance, secured all league and club accounts. We continue to work diligently with the teams, which have resumed normal operations. The NFL and teams are cooperating with its social media platform providers and law enforcement."0comments
The hacks have stopped for the time being, but they took place at the worst possible time for the sports websites and the NFL teams. Fans are constantly refreshing Twitter in pursuit of updates about Bryant and Super Bowl LIV, and they don't want to visit hacked accounts.
(Photo Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)