Guy Fawkes masks are the Anonymous costume of choice. Guy Fawkes day is Nov. 5, which with the message on the defaced NBC making reference to it alluded to Anonymous involvement. Although, on Twitter one faction has denied responsibility. (Photo: Wikimedia)
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- Several NBC websites were hacked on Sunday by a person or group calling itself "pyknic" and suggesting a possible link to the cyber-attack group Anonymous.
It appeared that the "defacement" of the affected sub-sites was cleaned up in a couple hours. NBC and its various websites appeared to be functioning normally as of Sunday evening Eastern time. However, older versions maintained by search engines such as Google and Bing still bore the message "hacked by pyknic" - a possible reference to an obscure hacker or "hacktivist" group.
The message said "Remember, remember the fifth of November." That reference suggested a link to Anonymous, a movement of cyber rebels which has appropriated much of the symbolism around Britain's upcoming Guy Fawkes Day, a holiday meant to mark the failed plot to blow up the country's parliament in 1605.
Gizmodo's Brian Barrett called it the "most prominent website hack we’ve seen in a while, and also one of the least coherent." The message in full repeats the phrase: Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot." The message also included some text of having passwords and user info, which has not been further expounded upon yet.
Conclusively determining responsibility for such attacks can be nearly impossible.
Also defaced by "pyknic" Sunday was a Lady Gaga fan site, Gaga Daily, an act which drew a sympathetic message from the pop star on Twitter.
"My little angels! help is on the way," the message read, adding that "haus of gaga techies will be on it ... to the rescue. calling them now."
The site was soon restored.
Anonymous and its offshoot Lulz Security have been linked to a number of high-profile computer attacks and crimes, including many that were meant to embarrass governments, federal agencies and corporate giants. YourAnonNews on Twitter, frequently a source of Anonymous activity, wrote that the collective was not responsible for the attack on these sites.
Spokesmen for NBC Universal declined to comment. An FBI spokesman didn't immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Now This News has video (via Mashable) showing the sites before appropriate service was restored (Warning: Some strong language text visible in the clip):
ZDNet reported that Anonymous has also claimed to have hacked PayPal Monday, but the company said there is "no evidence to validate this claim."