Business news website Fast Company has been offline for nearly 11 hours after the company decided to block access following a series of hacker attacks that sent offensive language to readers through its Apple News feed.
Readers began noticing the odd messages around 8: 30pm US eastern time when the offensive messages began to circulate on social media. Soon after, the Twitter account for Apple News flagged the incident, posting a statement that read, “An incredibly offensive alert was sent by Fast Company, which has been hacked. Apple News has disabled their channel.” The messages included racial epithets and sexually-oriented text.
Shortly after, Fast Company identified the messages as part of a hacker attack. “Fast Company’s Apple News account was hacked on Tuesday (Sept. 27) evening. Two obscene and racist push notifications were sent about a minute apart,” the company stated via its Twitter account at 9: 44pm US eastern time. “The messages are vile and not in line with the content and ethos of Fast Company.”
The trouble at Fast Company started on the weekend
The after an internal investigation, Fast Company revealed that the hack occurred as a result of a breach of its content management system. Hours later, shortly after midnight, in the early hours of Wednesday, Sept. 28, the company posted an update that revealed the attack as part of an earlier hack that occurred on the afternoon of Sept. 25.
The weekend incident involved offensive messages posted to the company’s homepage. In response, the company shut the site down before restoring access to readers a few hours later.
In 2016, Fast Company experienced a hacker-initiated breach in the form of a phishing attack that leaked private employee information. At 10: 55am US eastern time, Fast Company’s parent company, Mansueto Ventures, announced that it was also temporarily blocking access to its Inc.com news website. The publishing company said that it was making the move “out of an abundance of caution.”
As of this writing, visitors to the Fast Company website are still greeted with a “404 Not Found” message along with a blank screen.