On Monday, Britney Spears joined the ranks of celebrities who have briefly died on the internet. But her fake death was unique, at least in the way it was shown to be untrue.
The performer’s fake death was first announced via the somewhat obviously hacked account of Sony Music Global.
A celebrity death announcement will cause a lot of double-takes, but these two tweets are hard to believe even on first glance.
Sony Music just got hacked and tweeted that Britney Spears has died. pic.twitter.com/k6rIg14Oa9
Music News & Facts (@musicnews_facts) December 26, 2016
Simple enough to figure out for folks who have seen this sort of thing before, but this minor internet ripple took a left turn before all was resolved. The folks behind OurMine, a group known for hacking Twitter accounts as a means of advertisement, also noticed something funky about the Sony tweet.
OurMine has become Twitter famous for breaking into popular Twitter accounts, most recently those belonging to Marvel and Netflix. They have insisted to Mashable that they are a security group that doesn’t steal information when they hack. They do it to point to bad cybersecurity, but also to provide their email, through which they can offer security services.
This time, however, OurMine hacked an account to dispel a rumor before it ran wild.
OurMine told Mashable via email that this is the first time they’ve dispelled a rumor with a hack, but added, “maybe we will keep doing that.”
This is not, however, the first time Sony has dealt with a hack. This one probably won’t be migraine-inducing like the infamous Sony hack of 2014. That hack, by a group that labeled themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” was a sort of retaliation against a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The break-in resulted in a trove of leaked personal information and emails from Sony executives, and made the company waffle on its initial plan for theatrical release on Dec. 25, though they eventually decided to release it in 330 independent theaters. The FBI also confirmed that North Korea was behind the hack.
Maybe Sony will get their security patched up this time around. Maybe not.