If you were a Chicago Bears fan on the internet on Sunday, you may have woken up scratching your head and asking, "What?" For a moment, it looked like not only was the franchise sold to a new owner, but the team also shipped away star linebacker Khalil Mack to the Detroit Lions.
An early morning tweet from the team's official Twitter account announced that they have been sold to Saudi Arabia official Turki Al-Sheikh. In the minutes following that befuddling announcement came the news from the account that it was hacked by a Saudi-based group called "OurMine." They explained that they decided to hack the Bears' official account to "announce that we are back" and to "show people that everything is hackable." After news got out that this was a mere hoax on the part of OurMine, Pride of Detroit, a blog dedicated to Detroit Lions news, asked for the hacked Bears Twitter account to trade Khalil Mack over to the Motor City for a sixth-round pick.
The Bears account countered with the offer of $1 for Mack. Luckily for Chicago, Twitter negotiations are non-binding.
While that was how the Bears situation went down on Sunday, over a dozen of other NFL team accounts along with the official Twitter account for the league were also hacked with the same message from OurMine. The Chiefs, Packers, 49ers, Bills, Giants, and Cowboys are just some of the many official fan accounts targeted by the group. It's now been discovered there were many more attempts -- albeit unsuccessful -- with the NFL front office officially releasing the following statement on Tuesday:
On Monday, the NFL Cybersecurity department became aware of a breach of a league-related social media account. 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.
According to NBC 5 Chicago, the Bears account was hacked for over an hour. The franchise did eventually get ahold of their Twitter and cleared the air after being "compromised."
"Apologies that our account was compromised this morning," the Bears account tweeted. "We're back in the game & ready for the Pro Bowl."
It appears the other accounts victimized by the hacker group have also regained control, with once-deleted avis, headers and bios having now returned. It's unknown if there will be more attempts in the future, but the league is now taking steps to prevent this from happening in the future.